Syndrome of love, poetry and madness | The Middle East

Syndrome of love, poetry and madness

“The Cursed Poets” is a term coined by Verlaine in the 19th century and spread widely thereafter.


Wednesday – 6 Muharram 1444 AH – 03 August 2022 AD Issue No. [
15954]


Rambo – Baudelaire

Hashem Saleh

This hadith is dedicated to the miserable or sorrowful writers who have gone mad, suffered or committed suicide… The poet Paul Verlaine published a book in 1884 with the title: “The Cursed Poets”. They are three according to his classification: Tristan Corbier, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé. Then the book was printed again in 1888, where he added three others, including himself. He also considers himself a cursed, outcast and oppressed poet. It was true. Then this term, invented by Verlaine, spread widely after that. And they extended its application to include many other poets that Verlaine did not include in his classifications. Among them we mention: Lord Byron, John Keats, Gérard de Nerval, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, etc… But they left behind a creativity that keeps them alive. But what is meant by this familiar term? What is the meaning of the accursed poet or the accursed or the outcast? It means that eccentric person who lives on the fringes of society. He is someone who rejects social conformity, and behaves in a defiant, even dangerous way. He is an antisocial person in the literal sense of the word, a person who loves self-destruction. In other words: he is a person who destroys himself and enjoys it, and even finds pleasure beyond pleasure in it. He is a person who generally dies early before people discover his genius because he is ahead of his time.
This definition fully applies to Baudelaire, who attempted suicide more than once but finally went insane when he was only forty-six. Who can imagine the suffering of Charles Baudelaire? But if it had not been for this burning suffering, would he have given us the best poems of French poetry? Nothing is nothing, nothing is for nothing. Say the same of Verlaine, Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Guy Dumobasan, Gérard de Nerval, Nietzsche, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Stefan Zweig, the list is long. This does not mean that all writers were failures in life. That doesn’t mean they were all on the verge of insanity. There are counterexamples, led by Victor Hugo, for example. He was very successful, even on a financial level, as his books made him millions, and he led a most happy and enjoyable life, especially with his many renewed mistresses. But he also paid a heavy price. His younger brother died insane in a mental institution, as did his daughter, Adele. As for his other daughter, Leopoldine, very close to his heart, she was drowned in the sea when she was only nineteen years old, and soon after her wedding and marriage. A real disaster. And drowned with her poor husband, who immediately dived to get her back, to save her, but she dragged him with her to the depths of the sea. Awesome story. More than great story. A story, as soon as I heard it, my hair stood on end. What would I do if this incident happened to me? Would I have dared myself and rushed upon my dear bride in the depths of the sea to pick her up? I hope I will meet your satisfaction! Unfortunately, I have to admit that I am a coward and too selfish. In any case, it will be the happiest day of my life if I manage to save her alive, not drown with her… But even if I drown with her, I will become the greatest hero in history. How can I live after it has sunk before my eyes? A special tribute to Charles Vakry (her husband’s name, Victor Hugo’s brother-in-law). He was a good swimmer, and he could easily have escaped with his skin if he had wanted, after the boat had capsized with them and they had come so close to the shore. But after trying to pull her out six times in a row and failing, he chose to drown with her, not to let her drown alone. Incredible story! He had been in love with her for a long time but only married her a few months ago. When Victor Hugo heard the story, he went mad, and the earth gave out under his feet. And he cried and cried for years and years. And let’s not forget that Victor Hugo was buried with two sons in his life: Charles and Francois. Thus the man paid dearly the price of fame and glory. But no one has reached the heights of glory as Victor Hugo, except Voltaire in the eighteenth century and Sartre in the twentieth century.
But let us now of Victor Hugo, and let us speak of the truly unfortunate, of whom the first was Baudelaire, who in his life had neither fame, nor glories, nor money, nor anything. Only adult disappointments are known. His fame exploded after his death like a time bomb like Nietzsche. Didn’t Nietzsche say: “There are people who are born after they die”? Even his mother only knew his worth after his departure from this world, so she went mad and regretted a lot because she would have treated him differently if she had known that he was such a genius poet. Even his mother didn’t know who he was exactly. How are others? Life gave him nothing but unhappiness, but genius poems gave him many intense moments of happiness. When the poem worked with him, when it came, it glowed, it sparkled, it rose to the highest heights. He knew he had won by a knockout! But for every successful poem, how much did he pay a heavy price with his life, his nerves and his madness? Do you know what El Figaro said about him when he published his famous book “Flowers of Evil”? Literally the following: “This diwan is a hospital for the insane, a hospital open to all weaknesses of the soul, to all the rottenness of the heart. I wish it was for healing. Never. They are diseases and disabilities that have no cure or medicine. Baudelaire is a hopelessly sick person. Point on the line”… The strange thing is that this statement is correct in terms of diagnosis. But the critic of “Figaro” missed the main point: the extraordinary beauty of these genius poems, even though they talk about the ugliest thing that exists, about the tragedy of existence, about the back of existence.
After judging Flaubert for several months for his masterpiece “Madame Bovary”, it was Baudelaire’s turn. They tried him in Paris and sentenced him to a large fine. Unfortunately, unlike Flaubert, no one supported him. The emperor’s sister, Mathilde, intervened and excused him from paying any fine. But Baudelaire was forced to pay 50,000 francs. Where does it come from, a bankrupt burdened with debt? For this reason, he fled to Belgium to avoid a three-month prison sentence. The writers and poets of Paris, by the way, revealed their cowardice and timidity, and none of them supported him except Victor Hugo, who sent him from his distant exile wonderful words that remain forever: “The flowers of the snare that the catching eyes, the flowers of the snare shine on the world like planets and stars!” Have you ever seen a great poet glorify another great poet? Here is also the greatness of Victor Hugo. Notice with me this paradox: instead of thanking them and bowing to them, they judge Flaubert and Baudelaire for two masterpieces of French literature? But who knew at the time that Madame Bovary and The Flowers of Evil would become the great glories of French literature?
The French writer Patrick Bouivre Darfur says: The last years of Baudelaire’s life were endless nightmares, except for the rare moments in which he managed to write new “sick” poems. Notice with me this wonderful word, this golden word: sick poems! You can imagine that it is a satire of Baudelaire. On the contrary. That is the biggest compliment. Baudelaire was sick of her, and poetry was sick of it. Otherwise “Blomme van die Bose” would not have been produced: it is the most important book in the history of French poetry. What is Baudelaire’s fault if the world itself is also sick? Why do you hold him responsible for describing the darker and darker side of existence? Why do you hold him because he attends to the back of existence? Baudelaire was pregnant with hers and went through his arduous labor before finally bursting out with it, as the dawn broke. This is poetry. Poetry does not give itself easily otherwise all men would become poets.
Hair is very rare, unlike what we think. The poem only gives itself after your breath is on fire. Poetry you may give it all to give you something or it may give you nothing. On the wreckage of suffering and burning genius poems are born. These sick poems called “flowers of evil” are gems that time does not exist, except for a little. Then on the head of Baudelaire fall all the misfortunes of the earth. May all personal disasters and calamities destroy him. To destroy adult disappointments. Does not matter! What is important in the end is that these sick poems, these genius poems come. The main thing is to give yourself after a lot of inhibition, after eagerness and a long wait. This is important to Charles Baudelaire. The rest is details. The whole life is worth nothing before one meaningful poem!


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