In this life of Baudelaire (1821-67) Claude Pichois has drawn on a century's worth of research and scholarship. Baudelaire's short life was a frought one, plagued by disease, impecuniousness and censorship, and ending in self-imposed exile. His assault on the the extravagances of Romanticism and the shallow tastes of bourgeois readership in his most famous work, "Les Fleurs du Mal" is one of the main themes of this book, and was as much a part of his behaviour as it was of his writing. The book also covers his mistresses, his continual financial crises and his experiments with drugs. At the centre of his life, however, were these remarkable writings - poems, essays, translations (of Edgar Allan Poe) and letters, and Pichois has used these to illustrate throughout.