Should Feminists Read Baudelaire?

BBC Radio 3

Ahead of the 200th anniversary of his birth, poet and novelist Michèle Roberts leads women poets and academics to re-evaluate the literary legacy of France’s most influential and scandalous poet.

Opium-addled, syphilitic, Baudelaire was Paris’ first literary flâneur, canonical poet and the father of modern art criticism. His writings have inspired everyone from Bob Dylan to PJ Harvey, T S Eliot and Proust.

But since his death in 1867, critics and journalists have labelled him a misogynist and one of the most anti-female writers of all time.

This Sunday Feature explores the life of Charles Baudelaire through his relationship to women. The real women he knew, the women he depicted in his poetry, and his female readers then and today.

For listeners who are unfamilar with the poet, Michèle provides a glorious introduction to his great work Les Fleurs du Mal, his prose poems and articles.

Produced by Sara Jane Hall
Broadcast:   April 2020  on BBC World Service