Who among us has not dreamt, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhythm and rhyme, supple and staccato enough to adapt to the lyrical stirrings of the soul, the undulations of dreams, and sudden leaps of consciousness. This obsessive idea is above all a child of giant cities, of the intersecting of their myriad relations.”
Baudelaire is one of the major innovators in French literature. His poetry is influenced by the French romantic poets of the earlier 19th century, although its attention to the formal features of verse connect it more closely to the work of the contemporary 'Parnassians'. As for theme and tone, in his works we see the rejection of the belief in the supremacy of nature and thefundamental goodness of man as typically espoused by the romantics and expressed by them in rhetorical, effusive and public voice in favor of a new urban sensibility, an awareness of individual moral complexity, an interest in vice (linked with decadence) and refined sensual and aesthetical pleasures, and the use of urban subject matter, such as the city, the crowd, individual passers-by, all expressed inhighly ordered verse, sometimes through a cynical and ironic voice. Formally, the use of sound to create atmosphere, and of 'symbols', (images which take on an expanded function within the poem), betray a move towards considering the poem as a self-referential object, an idea further developed by the Symbolists Verlaine and Mallarmé, who acknowledge Baudelaire as a pioneer in this regard.Beyond his innovations in versification and the theories of symbolism and 'correspondences', an awareness of which is essential to any appreciation of the literary value of his work, aspects of his work which regularly receive (or have received) much critical discussion include the role of women, the theological direction of his work and his alleged advocacy of 'satanism', his experience ofdrug-induced states of mind, the figure of the dandy, his stance regarding democracy and its implications for the individual, his response to the spiritual uncertainties of the time, his criticisms of the bourgeois, and his advocacy of modern music and painting (e.g., Wagner, Delacroix).
 Early life
Baudelaire was born in Paris, France on April 9, 1821 and baptized twomonths later at Saint-Sulpice Roman Catholic Church. His father, François Baudelaire, a senior civil servant and amateur artist, was thirty-four years older than Baudelaire's mother. François died during Baudelaire's childhood, in 1827. The following year, Caroline married Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Aupick, who later became a French ambassador to various noble courts. Biographers have often seenthis as a crucial moment, considering that finding himself no longer the sole focus of his mother's affection left him with a trauma which goes some way to explaining the excesses later apparent in his life. He stated in a letter to her that, "There was in my childhood a period of passionate love for you". Baudelaire regularly implored his mother for money throughout his career, often promisingthat a lucrative publishing contract or journalistic commission was just around the corner.
Baudelaire was educated in Lyon, where he boarded. Baudelaire at fourteen was described by a classmate: "He was much more refined and distinguished than any of our fellow pupils [...] we are bound to one another[...] by shared tastes and sympathies, the precocious love of fine works of literature".Baudelaire was erratic in his studies, at times diligent, at other times prone to "idleness". Later, he attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, studying law, a popular course for those not yet decided on any particular career. Baudelaire began to frequent prostitutes and may have contracted gonorrhea and syphilis during this period. Baudelaire began to run up debts, mostly for clothes. Upon...