The Flowers of Evil

The Flowers of Evil:The Definitive English Language Edition

  • Paperback


A major work of world literature, The Flowers of Evil scandalized Baudelaire’s contemporaries and reinvented beauty in the midst of modernity. This dual-language edition of the definitive 1861 version features a new translation by acclaimed poetry scholar Nathan Brown and a new introduction

Probing the depths of the modern psyche in a voice at once caustic and vulnerable, melancholic and humorous, Baudelaire's infamous book brings to the surface a new understanding of evil, of eroticism, and of social life through an astonishing variety of poetic forms and styles.

When it was published in 1857, six poems in The Flowers of Evil were banned on charges of obscenity. Baudelaire then reworked the book into a masterfully expanded version published in 1861.

This new translation by acclaimed poetry scholar Nathan Brown includes the banned poems in a facing-page, dual-language edition of the definitive 1861 version, along with a major new introduction to the significance of Baudelaire’s work.

Brown has carefully preserved the lineation, figurative language, punctuation, and grammatical structures of the original, finally giving us a version of The Flowers of Evil suitable for the general reader as well as scholars and teachers working in English. This version of Baudelaire sets a new standard for fidelity to the original and sensitivity to the tone of this major work of modern literature.


  • The unfailing vision of Baudelaire who trumpeted the space and light of the future.

    Patti Smith
  • All the true, modern, poetic colours, remember Baudelaire was the first to find them.

    Marcel Proust
  • Baudelaire is indeed the greatest exemplar in modern poetry in any language.

    T.S. Eliot