Charles Pierre Baudelaire (pronounced /ˈboʊdəlɛər/; French pronounced ) (9 April 1821 - 31 August 1867) was a nineteenth century French poet, critic, and translator. A controversial figure in his lifetime, Baudelaire's name has become a byword for literary and artistic decadence. At the same time his works, in particular his book of poetry Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), have been acknowledged as classics of French literature.
Baudelaire was born in Paris, France in 1821. His father, a senior civil servant and amateur artist, died during Baudelaire's childhood in 1827. The following year, his mother, Caroline, thirty-four years younger than his father, married Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Aupick, who later became a French ambassador to various noble courts.
Baudelaire's relationship with his mother was a close and complex one, and it dominated his life. He later stated "I loved my mother for her elegance. I was a precocious dandy". He later wrote to her "There was in my childhood a period of passionate love for you". Aupick, a rigid disciplinarian, though concerned for Baudelaire's upbringing and future, quickly came to odds with his stepson's artistic temperament.