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A Flower from Evil: Recovering the Father of Modern Art Criticism
By Callie McKenzie
New Voices – The first in a series edited by Matthew J. Milliner showcasing the writing of some dangerously sharp art history students at the Wheaton College Art Department.
Look into those eyes—dark, piercing, deep. The tortured soul of the writer may be a cliché, but when you search these eyes the description fits. This skin is smooth but the soul is battered by a lifetime of wrestling with the base. Striving to obtain the sublime, this man has emerged unsatisfied—hollow. His name is Charles Baudelaire, the nineteenth-century Parisian poet. In addition to earning a reputation as the “father of modern art cricitism,” Baudelaire contracted a venereal disease, drug dependency, extravagant financial debts, chronic anxiety, depression, strained familial relationships, and multiple mistresses – the most consistent of which was an infatuation with suicide. This is a man whose most famous poetry collection is titled Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), which at times appears to wallow—almost exultantly—in twisted sex and death. … read the rest here