You — hypocrite Reader — my double — my brother!

from Charles Baudelaire – To The Reader (trans. by Robert Lowell) on Rap Genius

Meaning

In this prefatory poem to Flowers of Evil, Baudelaire makes the reader complicit in the “indecency” that follows and that would lead to several of the works in the collection being censored from later editions. The judges in his trial for offense to religious morality claimed that some of his poems:

necessarily lead to the excitement of the senses by a crude realism offensive to public decency

This final line is later quoted by T.S. Eliot in his The Waste Land as it became anthemic in its characterization of the decadence of the modern era.

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