Interesting article on the website for FIRST THINGS magazine about the tormented inner lives of Verlaine, Rimbaud and Baudelaire, the three paragons of the Decadents. Just goes to show that beauty and misery are often two sides of the same coin…

The term poète maudit, or “cursed poet,” was coined by Paul Verlaine. His little book Les poètes maudits (1884) interleaved his own honorific prose with poems by some of the poets he most esteemed but whose very greatness assured that they were known only to the cognoscenti. It was their obscurity—society was indifferent to them because they were hard to understand—that prompted Verlaine to speak of them as cursed. This cultivated sense of neglect, even oppression, at the hands of the bourgeois philistines became the classic pose of the avant-garde.

Read the rest here.