26 April 2012

A Morbid Growth

Cyril Connolly in an essay on Arthur Symons, reprinted in The Evening Colonnade (London: David Bruce & Watson, 1973), p. 196:
To some natures Baudelaire is not an inspiration but a disease, a morbid growth affecting the will. The godlike youth, the inspired poet of modern times crumbles before our eyes into the prematurely decrepit, shiftless parasite, driven out of his dignity by debt and out of his mind by syphilis, and some readers who come under his spell re-enact his fall or find excuses for their own inertia or take up the cudgels to avenge him, and incur the wrath of society. He can set one back a lifetime.