Introduction & Overview of Hymn to Beauty

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Hymn to Beauty Summary & Study Guide Description

Hymn to Beauty Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on Hymn to Beauty by Charles Baudelaire.

"Hymn to Beauty" comes from the "Spleen and Ideal" section of Charles Baudelaire's book Les Fleurs du Mal (which translates into English as Flowers of Evil or Flowers of Suffering). First published in 1857, it has become one of the most widely read and influential collections of poetry ever to come out of France. Like Edgar Allan Poe, whose works Baudelaire was instrumental in introducing to French audiences through extensive translations and critical works, Baudelaire viewed the universe with acute sensuality that leaned toward a fascination with the supernatural and the macabre. At the same time, his own aesthetic theories led him to the conclusion that beauty, mysterious and unknowable as it was, was the artist's main concern. Baudelaire is considered to be a precursor to the French symbolist movement that developed decades later, at the end of the nineteenth century, and included Stéphane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Verlaine. Most modern and postmodern poetry was influenced in one way or another by symbolism.

Baudelaire's book Les Fleurs du Mal was subject to government censorship when it was published. Both Baudelaire and his publisher were forced to pay hefty fines for poems that were deemed indecent. In addition, six poems were removed from the second edition, published in 1861. After the poet's death, several editions were published with different configurations of his poems. "Hymn to Beauty" is included in the recent compilation Charles Baudelaire: Complete Poems by Routeledge, translated from the French by Walter Martin.

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This section contains 245 words
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Poetry for Students
Hymn to Beauty from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.