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French poet Baudelaire suicide letter fetches €234,000 at auction

Baudelaire letter sold at auction, 4 NovemberImage copyrightAFP
Image caption The letter was written when the budding poet had money problems

A letter by the French 19th-Century poet Charles Baudelaire announcing he would kill himself has sold at auction for €234,000 (£204,000; $267,000).

The note, dated 30 June 1845, was addressed to Baudelaire’s lover Jeanne Duval.

The poet, who was 24 years old at the time, attempted to commit suicide on the same day – but survived.

The French auction website Osenat said the letter sold to a private buyer for three times the estimated price.

In the letter, Baudelaire informed his mistress of his intention to take his own life. “By the time you receive this letter, I will be dead,” it said.

“I am killing myself because I can no longer live, or bear the burden of falling asleep and waking up again.”

Image copyrightAFP
Image caption Baudelaire is regarded as one of the greatest French poets of all time

Baudelaire, who had money problems after squandering his inheritance, stabbed himself in the chest but suffered no serious injuries.

He lived for another 22 years, writing in that time the volume that established his reputation, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil).

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His works influenced generations of French poets. He died wracked by syphilis in 1867.

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