It is commonly known that Baudelaire used opium. Many writers have described him as being addicted to the drug, but few biographers have fully understood the effect of opiate addiction on personality, and, in the case of Baudelaire, the extent to which it damaged his life and work. In this fascinating and original contribution to Baudelaire studies Frank Hilton contends that the drug is at the root of all Baudelaire's problems and, in particular, his chronic inability to apply himself to any prolonged creative work which constantly tormented him. Unquestionably, there is significantly more to Baudelaire than his opium addiction. But a proper awareness of what it did to the poet will help to illuminate those puzzling aspects of his life and behaviour that have not previously been understood. Aimed at the general reader, this book will give those who know little or nothing about Baudelaire a comprehensive picture of his life. To those who know a great deal it will present him in an unexpected light.