Charles Baudelaire quotes

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe.

His most famous work was a book of lyric poetry titled Les Fleurs du mal, expresses the changing nature of beauty in the rapidly industrializing Paris during the mid-19th century

Charles Baudelaire quotes part 1

The lover of life makes the whole world into his family, just as the lover of the fair sex creates his from all the lovely women he has found, from those that could be found, and those who are impossible to find.

Any man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul.

Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams.

The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries with terror before being defeated.

It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.

There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start.

An artist is an artist only because of his exquisite sense of beauty, a sense which shows him intoxicating pleasures, but which at the same time implies and contains an equally exquisite sense of all deformities and all disproportion.

A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle.

France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.

Our religion is itself profoundly sad – a religion of universal anguish, and one which, because of its very catholicity, grants full liberty to the individual and asks no better than to be celebrated in each man’s own language – so long as he knows anguish and is a painter.

Everything for me becomes allegory.

How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering.

There are moments of existence when time and space are more profound, and the awareness of existence is immensely heightened.

Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances.

It would perhaps be nice to be alternately the victim and the executioner.

In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man among men.

We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself.

The pleasure we derive from the representation of the present is due, not only to the beauty it can be clothed in, but also to its essential quality of being the present.

Even if it were proven that God didn’t exist, Religion would still be Saintly and Divine.

What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.

It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.

The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.

Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.

I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.

Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.

God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn’t even need to exist.

I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.

It is the hour to be drunken! to escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

Any healthy man can go without food for two days – but not without poetry.

Inspiration comes of working every day.

I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.

There exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill, to create.

In literature as in ethics, there is danger, as well as glory, in being subtle. Aristocracy isolates us.

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

Music fathoms the sky.

Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.

The world only goes round by misunderstanding.

Modernity is the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, which make up one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immutable. This transitory fugitive element, which is constantly changing, must not be despised or neglected.

Evil is done without effort, naturally, it is the working of fate; good is always the product of an art.

All which is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.

Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.

Charles Baudelaire quotes part 2

The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself and others, as he wishes.

To the solemn graves, near a lonely cemetery, my heart like a muffled drum is beating funeral marches.

Nature… is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.

It would be difficult for me not to conclude that the most perfect type of masculine beauty is Satan, as portrayed by Milton.

I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old.

Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!

As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.

I consider it useless and tedious to represent what exists, because nothing that exists satisfies me. Nature is ugly, and I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial.

Beauty is the sole ambition, the exclusive goal of Taste.

Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.

Hypocrite reader my fellow my brother!

Nearly all our originality comes from the stamp that time impresses upon our sensibility.

The priest is an immense being because he makes the crowd believe astonishing things.

Genius is childhood recalled at will.

What is art? Prostitution.

For each letter received from a creditor, write fifty lines on an extraterrestrial subject and you will be saved.

I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.

To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art – that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.

Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors, I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust.

It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.

To be a great man and a saint for oneself, that is the only important thing.

It is necessary to work, if not from inclination, at least from despair. Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.

There is no dream of love, however ideal it may be, which does not end up with a fat, greedy baby hanging from the breast.

The unique and supreme voluptuousness of love lies in the certainty of committing evil. And men and women know from birth that in evil is found all sensual delight.

But a dandy can never be a vulgar man.

The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, and which life reveals, is the most living proof of our immortality.

Progress, this great heresy of decay.

The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep.

There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.

Always be a poet, even in prose.

There is no more steely barb than that of the Infinite.

If the poet has pursued a moral objective, he has diminished his poetic force.

Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.

For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.

This life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed with a desire to change his bed.

We are all born marked for evil.

Nothing can be done except little by little.

Everything that is beautiful and noble is the product of reason and calculation.

Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.

Who would dare assign to art the sterile function of imitating nature?

Modernity signifies the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art of which the other half is the eternal and the immutable.

Let us beware of common folk, of common sense, of sentiment, of inspiration, and of the obvious.

Those men get along best with women who can get along best without them.

A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else.