Les Fleurs du Mal
Subject: Explicit Sexuality Religious
Artist: Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Confronting Bodies: French Government
Dates of Action: 1857
Location: France, Paris
Description of Artwork: Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) (1909). Collection of poems, consisting largely of poems of decadence, eroticism and spiritual revolution first published in 1857. Further editions of the collection prepared by Baudelaire were published in 1861 and posthumously in 1867. Each were greatly enlarged but omitted the banned poems. These were published, however, in 1866 in Belgium in a collection entitled Les Epaves (The Waifs). In France the ban of the six poems was not lifted until 1949.
The Incident: The author, publisher and printer were prosecuted under the Second Empire for an "outrage aux bonnes moeurs" (outrage to public decency).
Results of Incident: Baudelaire was arrested and fined 300 francs. In 1866, in Brussels, Belgium, the six poems suppressed from Les Fleurs du Mal were published under the title of Les Epaves, and were widely circulated in France. In 1949, the ban was lifted in France.
Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.