Les Litanies de Satan By Charles Baudelaire
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"Les Litanies de Satan" ("The Litanies of Satan") is a poem by Charles Baudelaire, published as part of Les Fleurs du mal. The date of composition is unknown, but there is no evidence that it was composed at a different time to the other poems of the volume.
The poem is a renunciation of religion, and Catholicism in particular. It includes a blasphemous inversion of the Kyrie Eleison and the Glory Be, parts of the Catholic Mass, or it substitutes Satan for Mary and liturgy directed towards her. Swinburne called it the key to Les Fleurs du mal. The poet empathizes with Satan, who has also experienced injustice and can have pity for those who are outcasts. But for political reasons, Baudelaire had to preface the poem with a note explaining he had no personal allegiance with Satan. Even so, Les Fleurs du mal led to him and his publishers being fined for "insult to public decency".
The poem is an inspiration to Satanists to this day.
I saw the name "Satan" in the title quite by chance in a book of poems and looked it up. The line in Bold (my emphasis for purposes here of course) might be a little misleading, it's possible that B really did not have allegiance with Satan (despite being irreligious). Milton in Paradise Lost represents Satan as expelled because he was contrary to God but he was also represented as a Rebel, which is thematically important to Romantic Poets in general who hearkened back to Milton for this. Baudelaire, as you know, did not like the Establishment (if you will) and thought that there was more to life than the prettified notion of accepted normalcy (and here against religion). I don't think that he was a Satanist, per se., and shame on the Satanist today who try to co-opt B for their miserable purposes.
I'm deciding against printing out the poem because the poem might be scandalous to the devout even today. Am I being too scrupulous? I hope not and it would be nice to think that discretion is not a thing of the past. And as we all know, the poem is available on the Net.
PS I remember a novel in the first person who periodically refers to his "Baudelaire period." Perhaps a rebellious period, though could mean many things. That's all I remember about the book.
For the sake of French literature, I don't see any problem with you printing some verses en français-- Baudelaire was an artist and much of what he did was just that art.
After all Laffite, what are you going to do when Vautrin and I start to talk about Rimbaud?
Which reminds me, in one of my graduate French literature classes we watched the movie where DiCaprio played Rimbaud- - a profoundly explicit film.
I went to the apartment in Bruxelles where Rimbaud et Verlaine had their little incident. It's near La Grande Place in Brussels. They have a little plaque on the door commemorating it, believe it or not.