Baudelaire’s artificial paradise

Modern Books and Manuscripts 2012-11-15

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Today’s volume, an 1860 edition of Baudelaire’s Les paradis artificiels: opium et haschisch, is handsomely appointed in navy morocco and marbled paper boards, with a matching suede-lined slipcase. It bears the bookplates of the French writer Maxime Du Camp and the Belgian diplomat Louis de Sadeleer, and is inscribed from Baudelaire to Du Camp on the half-title page. Perhaps most interesting of all, though, is a manuscript letter from Baudelaire to the writer and editor Alphonse de Colonne, dated September 8, 1858, and tipped onto a blank preliminary leaf. In it, Baudelaire refers to the imminent completion of an unnamed text to be sent to Colonne for editing, and promises that ‘tomorrow I can resume your opium, and it will be swallowed


The volume arrived with two additional Baudelaire letters laid in: one to August Poulet-Malassis, the publisher of this edition of Les paradis artificels; and the other to an unnamed correspondent. As they are not attached to the volume, these letters have been removed and cataloged as part of the Santo Domingo manuscript collection.

Charles Baudelaire. Les paradis artificels, opium et haschisch. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1860. FC8.B3247.860p (B).

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.