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Arthur Rimbaud - book author

French poet and adventurer, who stopped writing verse at the age of 19, and who became, after his early death an inextricable myth in French gay life. Rimbaud's poetry, partially written in free verse, is characterized by dramatic and imaginative vision. "I say that one must be a visionary - that one must make oneself a VISIONARY." His works are among the most original in the Symbolist movement. Rimbaud's best-known work, LE BÂTEAU IVRE (The Drunken Boat), appeared in 1871. In the poem, he sent a toy boat on a journey, an allegory for a spiritual quest.

It is found again.
What? Eternity.
It is the sea
Gone with the sun.

(from 'L'Éternite', 1872)
Arthur Rimbaud was born in Charleville, France, as the son of Fréderic Rimbaud, a career soldier, and Marie-Catherine-Vitale Cuif, an unsentimental matriarch. Rimbaud's father left the family, and from the age of six, young Arthur was raised by his strictly religious mother. Rimbaud was educated in a provincial school until the age of fifteen. He was an outstanding student but his behavior was considered provocative. After publishing his first poem, in 1870, at the age of 16, Rimbaud wandered through northern France and Belgium, and was returned to his home in Paris by police.

Arthur Rimbaud is the author of books: Illuminations, A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat, Complete Works, A Season in Hell, A Season in Hell & Illuminations, Poésies complètes, Rimbaud: Poems, Poésies / Une saison en enfer / Illuminations, Le Bateau ivre, I Promise to Be Good: The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud

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01
The prose poems of the great French Symbolist, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), have acquired enormous prestige among readers everywhere and have been a revolutionary influence on poetry in the twentieth century. They are offered here both in their original texts and in superb English translations by Louise Varèse. Mrs. Varèse first published her versions of Rimbaud’s Illuminations in 1946. Since then she has revised her work and has included two poems which in the interim have been reclassified as part of Illuminations. This edition also contains two other series of prose poems, which include two poems only recently discovered in France, together with an introduction in which Miss Varèse discusses the complicated ins and outs of Rimbaldien scholarship and the special qualities of Rimbaud’s writing. Rimbaud was indeed the most astonishing of French geniuses. Fired in childhood with an ambition to write, he gave up poetry before he was twenty-one. Yet he had already produced some of the finest examples of French verse. He is best known for A Season in Hell, but his other prose poems are no less remarkable. While he was working on them he spoke of his interest in hallucinations––"des vertiges, des silences, des nuits." These perceptions were caught by the poet in a beam of pellucid, and strangely active language which still lights up––now here, now there––unexplored aspects of experience and thought.
02
Although Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing at the age of 19, he possessed the most revolutionary talent of the century. His poetry & prose have increasingly influenced major writers. To his masterpiece A Season in Hell is here added Rimbaud's longest & possibly greatest single poem The Drunken Boat, with the original French en face Illuminations, Rimbaud's major works are available as bilingual New Directions Paperbooks. The reputation of A Season in Hell, which is a poetic record of a man's examination of his own depths, has steadily increased over the years. Upon the 1st publication of Varese's translation by New Directions, the Saturday Review wrote: "One may at last suggest that the translation of A Season in Hell has reached a conclusive point..." Concerning the 25-stanza The Drunken Boat, Dr Enid Starkie of Oxford University has written: "(It's) an anthology of separate lines of astonishing evocative magic which linger in the mind like isolated jewels." Rimbaud's life was so extraordinary that it has taken on the quality of a myth. A biographical chronology is included.
03
Arthur Rimbaud is remembered as much for his volatile personality and tumultuous life as he is for his writings, most of which he produced before the age of eighteen.

This book brings together his poetry, prose, and letters, including "The Drunken Boat," "The Orphans' New Year," "After the Flood," and "A Season in Hell," considered by many to be his.

'Complete Works' is divided into eight "seasons" - Childhood, The Open Road, War, The Tormented Heart, The Visionary, The Damned Soul, A Few Belated Cowardices, and The Man with the Wind at His Heels - that reflect the facets of Rimbaud's life.

Insightful commentary by translator and editor Paul Schmidt reveals the courage, vision, and imagination of Rimbaud's poetry and sheds light on one of the most enigmatic figures in letters.
04
Written by Rimbaud at age 18 in the wake of a tempestuous affair with fellow poet, Paul Verlaine, A Season in Hell has been a touchstone for anguished poets, artists and lovers for over a century. This volume presents the text in French and English with photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.
05
“The definitive translation for our time.”
–Edward Hirsch

From Dante’s Inferno to Sartre’s No Exit, writers have been fascinated by visions of damnation. Within that rich literature of suffering, Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell–written when the poet was nineteen–provides an astonishing example of the grapple with self.

As a companion to Rimbaud’s journey, readers could have no better guide than Wyatt Mason. One of our most talented young translators and critics, Mason’s new version of A Season in Hell renders the music and mystery of Rimbaud’s tale of Hell on Earth with exceptional finesse and power.

This bilingual edition includes maps, a helpful chronology of Rimbaud’s life, and the unfinished suite of prose poems, Illuminations and A Season in Hell cement Rimbaud’s reputation as one of the foremost, and most influential, writers in French literature.
06
Con lucidez y osadía asombrosas, pero también con trabajo y esfuerzo, Rimbaud propuso otra concepción de la poesía y logró materializarla. Y lo que propuso se termina imponiendo, ante todo, por la eficacia de las palabras en las que se materia- liza, pero también por la necesidad histórica de esa libertad proclamada y reclamada.

Con veinte años, tras haber alterado radicalmente la poesía de su sociedad en apenas cuatro años de escritura y vida vertiginosas, Rimbaud no volverá a vivir como poeta y, tal vez en consecuencia, no volverá a escribir. El autor que proclamara que hay que ser absolutamente moderno, el autor que, de hecho, constituye una de las raíces y cimas de la modernidad, cesa de ser autor. Murió en un hospital de Marsella, en 1891. Llevaba diecisiete años sin escribir y sin que pareciese necesitarlo. ¿También en este largo gesto de silencio hay que buscar su modernidad?
07
The Everyman's Library Pocket Poets hardcover series is popular for its compact size and reasonable price which does not compromise content. Poems: Rimbaud contains selections from Rimbaud's work, including over 100 poems, selected prose, "Letter to Paul Demeny, May 15, 1871," and an index of first lines.
08
Ici, point de jolis poèmes ciselés, de fleurettes ni de petits oiseaux. Pas de rimes savantes ni d’audaces de versification. La Saison, ce n’est pas ce genre de poésie. C’est une plongée au cœur d’une âme effrénée qui traverse une crise morale et intellectuelle aux allures de cataclysme. Le texte est dense, épais et lumineux comme du magma en fusion, charriant un torrent de souvenirs, d’images et de symboles à la fois cryptés et transparents. Il s’écoule à une vitesse vertigineuse – c’est Rimbaud ! – et laisse le lecteur tout abasourdi de ce qu’il vient de vivre, et avide de replonger dans cette fournaise. Ou bien, s’il se prend à feuilleter cette édition üLtim, de redécouvrir sous un jour nouveau le reste de l’œuvre rimbaldienne, depuis les premières Poésies jusqu’aux Illuminations.
09
Ivre de sensations, Rimbaud est comme ce bateau qui connaît l'éblouissement de " nuits sans fond " mais aussi la désillusion " d'aubes navrantes ". Voyant, il crée un monde où la Grande-Ourse est une auberge et les poteaux télégraphiques une lyre aux chants de fer... Révolté, il va, portant en lui " le sanglot des Infâmes, la clameur des Maudits " et le sourire tranquille du dormeur du val... Mais pour finir, il s'évade, tout à la fois, ange, mage et vagabond, laissant à vingt ans, une œuvre fulgurante dont les échos se prolongent aujourd'hui.
10
One of the most written-about literary figures in the past decade, Arthur Rimbaud left few traces when he abandoned poetry at age twenty-one and disappeared into the African desert. Although the dozen biographies devoted to Rimbaud’s life depend on one main source for information—his own correspondence—a complete edition of these remarkable letters has never been published in English. Until now.

A moving document of decline, Rimbaud’s letters begin with the enthusiastic artistic pronouncements of a fifteen-year-old genius, and end with the bitter what-ifs of a man whose life has slipped disastrously away. But whether soapboxing on the essence of art, or struggling under the yoke of self-imposed exile in the desert of his later years, Rimbaud was incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence. As translator and editor Wyatt Mason makes clear in his engaging Introduction, the letters reveal a Rimbaud very different from our expectations. Rimbaud—presented by many biographers as a bohemian wild man—is unveiled as “diligent in his pursuit of his goals . . . wildly, soberly ambitious, in poetry, in everything.”

I Promise to Be Good: The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud is the second and final volume in Mason’s authoritative presentation of Rimbaud’s writings. Called by Edward Hirsch “the definitive translation for our time,” Mason’s first volume, Rimbaud Complete (Modern Library, 2002), brought Rimbaud’s poetry and prose into vivid focus. In I Promise to Be Good, Mason adds the missing epistolary pieces to our picture of Rimbaud. “These letters,” he writes, “are proofs in all their variety—of impudence and precocity, of tenderness and rage—for the existence of Arthur Rimbaud.” I Promise to Be Good allows English-language readers to see with new eyes one of the most extraordinary poets in history.


From the Hardcover edition.