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Additional info for Charles Baudelaire
Whatever the truth may be, he regarded Jeanne in later life as a responsibility it behoved him to bear. It is almost the only one he would accept. The October 1843 letter to his mother, despite its agreement to accept her conditions regarding his ﬁnances, is rapidly followed by a note dated 5 November 1843, in which Baudelaire promises to pay M. Arondel 300 francs by the end of February. 3 A comment jotted down in the diaries sheds a dubious light on Baudelaire’s attitude to living on credit: ‘whenever a letter from a creditor arrives, write ﬁfty lines on an extra-terrestrial subject and you will be saved’ (oc, i, p.
His future admiration for the great soldier-poet Alfred de Vigny is not sufﬁcient to suggest he would have taken on the constraints and demands of the army with stoicism or even resignation. Nevertheless, given his stepfather’s career, and the complex aura that Napoleon’s legacy had conferred on the army, it is not surprising that there should be frequent references to the military in his diaries. As a child, 39 Baudelaire remarks at one point, ‘I wanted to be either a pope, but a military pope, or an actor’ (oc, i, p.
208) 54 he asserts, with the blend of myth and modernity that would become typical of him. But even in this sonnet he suggests that his friend’s combination of audacity and correctness of form merely hints at what he might become in later years. Correctness of form is not in itself beauty, for as Baudelaire afﬁrms in his diaries, ‘what is not slightly misshapen seems insensitive, from which it follows that irregularity, that is, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment, are an essential part of beauty and characteristic of it’ (oc, i, p.