First edition in book form of the first of Baudelaire's highly influential French translations of Edgar Allan Poe.
"I want Edgar Poe, who is not any great thing in America, to become a great man for France."
After Poe's death in 1849, the American audience for his works rapidly dwindled. Meanwhile in France, Baudelaire spent nearly two decades translating Poe, believing that Poe's works would be wrongfully forgotten if he did not. Poe's legacy was indeed carried on by his French admirers, including Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Valéry, who first discovered his work through Baudelaire.
Perhaps the most notable reader of this particular translation was Jules Verne, a stockbroker inspired to write his own ballooning adventure – despite knowing nothing about the subject – after reading Poe's "Le canard au ballon" and "Aventure sans pareille d'un certain Hans Pfaall" in this very edition. In 1863, Verne would publish FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON, the book that launched his career as a novelist.
The first of five anthologies translated by Baudelaire, this book contains also "The Gold Bug" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." It was published just one year before Baudelaire's own masterpiece, LES FLEURS DU MAL. A major influence on the development of modern science fiction, Symbolism, and Surrealism.
Read more: Lottman, Jules Verne: An Exploratory Biography.
Paris: Michel Lévy, 1856. 18mo. 6.75'' x 4.25''. Contemporary quarter pebbled red cloth, marbled paper boards, gilt-lettered and -ruled spine. All edges sprinkled in black. Preliminary dedication in verse by Poe to his aunt and mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, followed by Baudelaire's biography of Poe; table of contents at rear. Text in French. xxxii, 330,  pages. Light edgewear to contemporary boards, faint spotting to spine. First and last few leaves unobtrusively foxed, with a few gatherings of intermittent foxing.
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