Edgar Allan Poe's many tales of mystery and the macabre were (and remain) immensely popular, appealing to a wide range of readers, among whom was Charles Baudelaire, the French poet, whose own fascination with the macabre and strange was a major driver of his work. It is therefore not unduly surprising that he should have chosen to translate Poe's stories into French, and a sufficient number of them to fill two volumes. Strangely, the two men resembled each other in appearance, also!
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic, best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. Widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the Americas, he was one of the country's earliest short story writers, is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre, and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult (and short) life and career.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821–1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, "Les Fleurs du Mal" (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern (19th century) industrialising Paris. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced many other poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and art's responsibility to capture that experience.
Our books are quite beautiful, handsomely bound in red leather with an Art Nouveau design of female heads and serpents impressed on the front and back, repeated in gilt on the spines, and the title in gilt lettering within a dark red diamond panel on the spine. The external condition is almost pristine, apart from a tiny dent at the foot of one spine (see photo). Within, dark-blue/gilt endpapers precede the main body of the book, which are printed on laid paper, and appear unread. Bindings are tight, and all pages clean and bright. Red/pink silk page markers are in place. All page tops gilt. Many striking B/W illustrations enhance the text. This edition was produced in 1974 by Jean de Bonnot, a French publisher specialising in the production of beautiful books, and a guarantee accompanies the set on a separate sheet.