On writing: The Lesbians Continue reading “Richard Dalla Rosa: Inspiration and Influences”
Richard Dalla Rosa was born in 1974, in Charleville-Mézières. He is a teacher of French literature and Latin, and runs workshops in creative writing. Richard Dalla Rosa has published a number of works, including short stories (La nuit des heures, Pierron, 1997), historical narrative (Tisphoné, démon de Socrate, Autrement, 2000), novels (Cascamouche, Desmaret, 2004), art catalogues (Anamorphoses, Bernard Pras, gallery Bruno Delarue, 2001), articles (“Les Mots dans les murs”, NRF Gallimard, 2000), and poetic prose (Eloge des forêts depuis la vitre d’un wagon & inédits, Société des Ecrivains Ardennais, 2015). He represented his region as a film enthusiast at the Cannes Film Festival, participating as a member of the Youth Jury in 1994, and he also competed for France as a poet in the Jeux de la Francophonie (Francophone Games) in Ottawa, 2001. As Chair of the Société des Ecrivains Ardennais (Society of Ardennes Writers), he is now devoted to the promotion of reading and writing; he has held a monthly book club for over twelve years at Charleville, and also prepares projects involving books, scenarios and plays.
Charles Baudelaire (1821 -1867) was a French poet who gained notoriety for his 1857 volume of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), which dealt with controversial themes such as death, depression, homosexuality, alcohol, and others. He initially studied law, however he was unhappy with the profession and began to drink, hire prostitutes and run up debts. He then turned to a career in literature. His family, unhappy with his choice and lifestyle, sent him on a voyage to India in an effort to redirect his energy. This experience influenced his later poetry, with themes of the sea, port life, and exotic climes.
On his return to Paris, Baudelaire continued to write, and soon began to publish his writing, starting with art reviews, which gained attention; and established himself as an advocate of Romanticism. In 1857, he published his most famous volume of poetry, The Flowers of Evil, with it’s themes of sex and death it created a scandal. Baudelaire and his publisher were prosecuted. Gustave Flaubert,Victor Hugo and other notable writers and thinkers defended him and condemned the decision.
Towards the end of his life, Baudelaire suffered from many conditions brought on by his chronic use of opium and stress surrounding his debts. In 1866, he suffered from a stroke and died soon after.
The mirrored and gilded interior of Paris’ Hotel Lauzun was poet Charles Baudelaire’s residence between 1843 and 1845. It is the inspiration behind a new mini-play by Richard Dalla Rosa. The play focusses on what might have happened ‘behind the scenes’, in the corridors of the hotel, between the women employed as maids. Could they have been the inspiration for Baudelaire’s lesbian poems? Come and enjoy GoodDog Theatre Company’s interpretation of this new writing, freshly translated by Theanou Petrou.
Laisse du vieux Platon se froncer l’oeil austère;
Tu tires ton pardon de l’excès des baisers,
Reine du doux empire, aimable et noble terre,
Et des raffinements toujours inépuisés.
Laisse du vieux Platon se froncer l’oeil austère.
Lesbos, by Charles Baudelaire.
Get tickets for the opening night (September 19th).
Charles Baudelaire lived in the Hotel de Lauzun, 17, quai d’Anjou, in the popular Bohemian district of Ile St Louis in Paris, from October 1843 to September 1845. The hotel, also known as the Hotel Pimodan, was an old town house, built in the era of Louis XIV, with a majestic classical facade adorned with dolphin shaped drain pipes and an aristocratic, carved, painted, mirrored and gilded interior. As the neighbourhood became déclassé following the 1798 Revolution, it was divided into apartments and attics, rented by successful artisans, artists and writers such as Baudelaire and his friend and fellow poet, journalist and literary critic, Theophile Gautier.
Here the young writer wrote the early poems of Les Fleurs du Mal, enjoyed the company of his mistress, Jeanne Duval, and attended Le Club des Haschichens (Hashish Club) suppers, with associates such as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Honore de Balzac. Dressed in Arab clothing they drank coffee laced with a green jam-like substance made of hashish, pistachio, orange juice and spices and experienced euphoria, hallucinations, a rapid flow of ideas and incredible mirth, known as ‘intellectual intoxication’.
Whilst Les Fleurs du Mal, published in 1857 and deemed controversial and shocking in its day, deals with the themes of sex, death, lesbianism, metamorphosis , depression, urban corruption and lost innocence, the notes Baudelaire made observing the hashish-taking experiments at the Hotel de Lauzun, in which he occasionally took part, formed the basis of his book, Les Paradis Artificiel (Artificial Paradises), which compares the social aspects of wine drinking with the anti social and evil effects of the drug.
The Hotel Lauzun was bought by the City of Paris in 1928. It has been used for its exceptional setting to host official dinners, concerts, film sets, conferences and private tours. Following extensive restoration, it now houses the Institute for Advanced Studies, dedicated to humanities and scientific research.
It is the setting of a new play by Richard Dalla Rosa (‘The Lesbians’). The play has been adapted for performance by GoodDog Theatre Company.