Set in a modern, urban Paris, the prose pieces in this volume constitute a further exploration of the terrain Baudelaire had covered in his verse masterpiece, The Flowers of Evil: the city and its squalor and inequalities, the pressures of time and mortality, and the liberation provided by the sensual delights of intoxication, art, and women. Published posthumously in 1869, Paris Spleen was a landmark publication in the development of the genre of prose poetry-a format which Baudelaire saw as particularly suited for expressing the feelings of uncertainty, flux, and freedom of his age-and one of the founding texts of literary modernism.
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) is most famous for his groundbreaking collection of verse The Flowers of Evil, but his essays, translations, and prose poems have been equally influential. Louise Varese was an American biographer and translator of French. She is known for her translations of Stendhal, Proust, Georges Simenon, Julien Gracq, St.-John Perse and Arthur Rimbaud.