"Je vais me trouver aujourd'hui même sans logement": a desperate plea for money

Baudelaire, Charles, French poet (1821-1867). Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Baudelaire").

[Paris], 18. VIII. 1862.

8vo. 3 pp. on bifolium. In French.


Important letter to Arsène Houssaye, desperately requesting an advance on articles or a loan, as he is facing eviction, and offering valuable hints at his current work, which mostly remained unpublished during Baudelaire's lifetime: "If you do not come to my rescue today, I will find myself today even without lodging, and in a situation in which I will no longer have the necessary rest to work a little. I always hoped that La Presse would begin [to print] my Variétés [a section of his diary] and would slowly continue week by week or fortnight by fortnight. It is, I assure you, with deep regret that I address myself to your purse but to whom do I address myself at this moment? No one is in Paris. It will be, if you wish, an advance, which you will repay, or a loan; for if I consider the work finished, I know someone who will advance me the whole amount. The sum I need is too great for me to have any right to ask you for it, but 250 fr., which probably represents two large Variétés-articles that you have, might allow me to put off my man for a few days. Permit me, I beg you, to insist vigorously, as on a serious matter, and not to speak of recognition. It is the fashion of those who forget" (transl.). In a long postscript, Baudelaire mentions his "Petits Poèmes en prose", better known under the later title "Le Spleen de Paris", his posthumously published diatribe "L'esprit et le style de M. Villemain", ideas for new titles that feature in his diaries and the autobiographical fragment "Mon cœur mis à nu" and he announces to visit Houssaye: "It is not surprising that I torment you to try [to have] a work of mine in La Presse. I have many other things in my mind than the Poèmes and Villemain. Everything could be broken up. I found two new titles: Fusées et Suggestions / Soixante Six Suggestions. I did not know until yesterday that I would be obliged to assail you in this way; do all you can, not to get me out of trouble but to help me lengthen the belt. I still have a little bit of copy with me but I would have liked to extend it. I will go and see you today".

Baudelaire's plea was successful, as Arsène Houssaye published some of the "Petits Poèmes" in La Presse on 26 August, 27 August, and 24 September 1862.

With several small tears and one larger tear due to ink corrosion affecting the text. Somewhat brittle.

Stock Code: BN#60432 Tag: