Black Venus captures the artistic scene in the great French capital city, at a time when the likes of Dumas and Balzac argued literature in the cafes of the Left Bank. Among the bohemians, the young Charles Baudelaire stood out - dressed impeccably thanks to an inheritance that was quickly vanishing. Still at work on the poems that he hoped would make his name, he spent his nights enjoying the alcohol, opium and women who filled the seedy streets of the city. One woman would catch his eye - a beautiful Haitian cabaret singer named Jeanne Duval. Their lives would remain forever intertwined thereafter, and their romance would inspire his most infamous poems - leading to the banning of his masterwork, Les Fleurs du Mal, and a scandalous public trial for obscenity. James MacManus's Black Venus re-creates the classic Parisian literary world in vivid detail, complete with not just an affecting portrait of the famous poet but also his often misunderstood, much-maligned muse.
Publication date: 2014
OPAC reference: KOHA-OAI-BCP:600