BAUDELAIRE, Charles (1821-67). Les Fleurs du Mal. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857.
12o (185 x 118mm). Half title, title in red and black with publisher's device.
EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED: Containing two autograph letters by Baudelaire (see below), one by Bracquemond and two by Champfleury; two portraits of the author; original drawings and proof etchings and 33 ornamental head-and -tail pieces by Bracuemond for an illustrated edition of Les Fleurs du Mal. Preceded by a letterpress description of the contents that omits the presence of the two letters by Baudelaire.
BINDING: Fin-de-siècle mosaic binding for Samuel Putnam Avery by CHARLES MEUNIER, tooled in gold and silver, colored inlays of flowers and symbols of death and evil, similiarly tooled, decorated and inlaid morocco doublures, purple water-silk linings, gilt and elaborately gauffered edges, two pierced metail clasps and catches with skull designs. Housed in a full morocco case, the inside with two raised-panel doors similarly tooled and with a skull-shaped metal pull, lined in silk.
PROVENANCE: Samuel Putnam Avery (binding; his sale The Anderson Galleries, 10 November 1919, lot 73).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, with the six suppressed poems. Five to six weeks after the publication of Les Fleurs du Mal, following the judgement on August 20, Baudelaire was successfully prosecuted and fined for offending public morals, and the publisher was ordered to remove six poems from the work (which the present copy retains). These poems were deleted from the second edition, published in 1861. The amendments to "Femmes Damnées" substitute the name "Marguerite" for "Hippolyte", deletes the 24th stanza, and make substitutions in the final stanza. Carteret I pp. 118-123.
[Bound in at end:] BAUDELAIRE, Charles. Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Baudelaire") to his publisher Auguste Poulet-Malassis, [Paris], 9 December 1856. Two pages, 8vo, with integral address panel.
At the height of Baudelaire's creative powers, Baudelaire writes eight months prior to the publication of Les Fleurs du Mal to the book's publisher, his friend and creditor Auguste Poulet-Malassis. Baudelaire discusses corrections needed to Les Fleurs du Mal, the size of the edition, the translation of Edgar Allan Poe's Arthur Gordom Pym and asks to put aside for him all he can find by and about Choderlos de Laclos (author of Les Liaisons dangereuse).
[And bound with:] BAUDELAIRE, Charles. Autograph letter signed with initials to an unknown correspondent, 8 January 1860. Three pages, 8vo.
Baudelaire writes about changes in large prints by Paul Mòrgon(?), who asked Baudelaire if the stories of Poe should not be attributed to a committee of writers. He writes about Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and ends with a postscript about Victor Hugo, stating that Hugo keeps sending him such stupid letters that it inspires him to write an essay about how, by some fatal law, a genius is always an idiot.