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7Nov/10Off

Censored

More than 150 years have past since Les Fleurs du mal was published and Baudelaire's poetry is still being censored.

Last year, ledepeche.fr reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) had prevented Bordeaux wine merchant Guillaume de Tastes from exporting to the United States. He had included an excerpt from Baudelaire's poem L'Âme du vin (The Soul of Wine) on the label of his Château Haut Gay, and the American authorities banned the product on the grounds that the the text was "an incentive to debauchery".

The two offending verses, translated by William Aggeler:

One night, the soul of wine was singing in the flask:
O man, dear disinherited! to you I sing
This song full of light and of brotherhood
From my prison of glass with its scarlet wax seals

Vegetal ambrosia, precious grain scattered
By the eternal Sower, I shall descend in you
So that from our love there will be born poetry,
Which will spring up toward God like a rare flower!

In the soon-to-be released Obolus Press translation of Georges Barral's Five Days in Brussels with Charles Baudelaire, the poet doesn't drink any Bordeaux, but does enjoy several bottles of Pommard and Corton.

"Wine is like the sun!," says Baudelaire. "It is the father of all civilizations! It is what has made France!" He also recommends eating gingerbread alongside burgundy on the grounds that it brings out the wine's heady fragrance.