20 Actual Quotes From Baudelaire As the Teen Goth You Broke Up With in High School

Happy publishing anniversary weekend to Les fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire, the French poet, essayist, art critic, and OG conjurer of all things modernité. The 19th-century writer has been a particular favorite amongst dark dreamers and gothic lovelies for decades due to his obsession with Poe, his lifelong struggle with obscenity charges pinned to his writings, and his anguished personal life. In fact, Baudelaire occasionally sounds like that insufferable goth you broke up with in high school who was really into the dank darkness of their danky doom — yet we mean that in the most loving way possible.

 

“I am a cemetery loathed by the moon.”

“You gave me your mud and I have turned it to gold.”

“Everything, alas, is an abyss, — actions, desires, dreams, words!”

“Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.”

“What matters an eternity of damnation to someone who has found in one second the infinity of joy?”

 

“Do not look for my heart any more; the beasts have eaten it.”

“Perhaps it would be sweet to be, in turn, both victim and executioner.”

“The act of love strongly resembles torture or surgery.”

“What is intoxicating about bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of offensiveness.”

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“I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.”

 

“To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.”

“Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!”

“There is no dream of love, however ideal it may be, which does not end up with a fat, greedy baby hanging from the breast.”

“I consider it useless and tedious to represent what exists, because nothing that exists satisfies me. Nature is ugly, and I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial.”

“As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.”

 

“I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old.”

“Music fathoms the sky.”

“Any healthy man can go without food for two days – but not without poetry.”

“What is art? Prostitution.”

“Always be a poet, even in prose.”