Synopses & Reviews
It is commonly known that Baudelaire used opium. Many writers have described him as being addicted to the drug, but few biographers have fully understood the effect of opiate addiction on personality, and, in the case of Baudelaire, the extent to which it damaged his life and work. In this fascinating and original contribution to Baudelaire studies Frank Hilton contends that the drug is at the root of all Baudelaires problems, and in particular his chronic inability to apply himself to any prolonged creative work which constantly tormented him.
Unquestionably there is significantly more to Baudelaire than his opium addiction. But a proper awareness of what it did to the poet will help to illuminate those puzzling aspects of his life and behaviour that have not previously been understood. Aimed at the general reader, this book will give those who know little or nothing about Baudelaire a comprehensive picture of his life. To those who know a great deal it will present him in an unexpected light.
"Baudelaire in Chains is written out of a poised indignation with the romantic image of Baudelaire as a poète maudit....Hilton believes that writers on Baudelaire fail to understand that he is a case history of opium addiction. Baudelaire in Chains is simply that case history, using evidence from Baudelaires letters and behaviour in the light of modern knowledge of addiction, to make out a convincing argument....Those poems which described the country trapped in the brain, the impotence and the sense of damnation seemed suddenly both more powerful and more moving in the light of Baudelaire in Chains." A.S. Byatt, Guardian
"Casting new light on a great junkie poet." Independent
A Portrait of the Artist as a Drug Addict.
About the Author
Frank Hilton has written a number of drama series and serials and translated documentary and feature films. He is the author of The Paras, which was accompanied by the highly successful BBC television series.