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The Baudeliare Project (Translations in English of Les Fleurs du Mal)

posted Jul 30, 2010, 12:41 PM by James Mah   [ updated Aug 11, 2010, 5:45 PM ]
            The following is a list of translations in English of Les Fleurs du Mal.  The list is not complete.  The listings with photos attached are in my collection.

1.        F.P. Sturm    Th
e Poems of Charles Baudelaire, 1906

2.        J.C. Squire    Poems & Baudelaire Flowers, 1909

3.        Arthur Symons    Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal
I am unsure of the date of first publication.  I know the poems through an anthology entitled Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine:  Selected Verse & Prose Poems      edited by Joseph M. Bernstein, 1947


4.         Lewis Piaget Shanks        Les Fleurs du Mal:  The Complete Poems, 1926


5.         Beresford Egan and C. Bower Alcock    Flowers of Evil, 1929

6.        George Dillon and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil, 1936
            St. Vincent Millay rendered her translations as approximations of the French alexandrine. There is a
            discussion of the problems of translating into English hexameters in her preface.  This, and the Lappin
            book (see below) are the only two works I know that use this approach instead of the iambic pentameter.
            "We soon found that we often came much closer to the effect we wanted by importing into the 12-syllable
   seemed bumpy or unbalanced---one or two (infrequently three) extra syllables, still
            always keeping the line, however, a line of six feet".


7.        James Laver / Jacob Epstein    Charles Baudelaire:  Flowers of Evil, 1940

8.        C.F. MacIntyre    Baudelaire:  One Hundred Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal, 1949
            This translator dispenses with the alexandrine:  "I hope my practice of mixing pure with slant or suspended
            rhymes, of employing consonance and assonance, and of using as nearly as possible the word order of good
            prose will give the reader some understanding of the effect of the poet created..."

8.        Roy Campbell    Poems of Baudelaire, 1952


9.        William Aggeler    Charles Baudelaire:  The Flowers of Evil, 1954


10.       Marthiel and Jackson Mathews    Charles Baudelaire:  The Flowers of Evil, 1955


11.          Francis Scarfe        Baudelaire:  Selected Verse, 1961

12.          Francis Duke        The Flowers of Evil and Other Poems of Charles Baudelaire, 1961
                "The iambic pentameter with its elegance, sonority, flexibility, force, and illustrious history, needs no
                defence as to its intrinsic merits."


13.            James Laver, editor    Charles Baudelaire:  The Flowers of Evil, 1971


14.            Joanna Richardson        Selected Poems of Baudelaire, 1975

15.            Jack Hibberd        Baudelaire:  Le Vin des Amants, 1977

15.            Richard Howard        Les Fleurs du Mal, a new translation, 1983
                  Howard's translations do not rhyme but emphasizes the structural relationship amongst the poems:
                  "I have  employed all the artifices in my power to make up for, even to suggest, the consentaneous
                  regularities that the persistent use of rhyme affords...eschewing 'terminal consonance' for the sake of 
cumulative effects, that 'secret architecture' Baudelaire so prided himself upon."
16.            Kendall Lappin        Echoes of Baudelaire:  Selected Poems, 1992
                  Lappin's translations do no rhyme either; he takes " a strategic approach featuring de-emphasis of rhyme
                  in favor of rhythm". He approximates Baudelaire's alexandrines in English with a "flexible, often-
                  defective anapestic tetrameter.  A commitment to a rhyme-scheme complicates the rendition of content and
                  impairs accuracy.  
17.            Keith Waldrop        Baudelaire:  The Flowers of Evil, 2006

                  Waldrop has rendered the poems as prose "versets" with paragraph breaks between stanzas.