Unknown Beyond the avant-garde at the time of his death, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) has been one of the most destructive and liberating influences on twentieth-century culture. During his lifetime he was a bourgeois-baiting visionary, a reinventor of language and perception, a breaker of taboos. The list of his known crimes is longer than the list of his published poems. But his posthumous career is even more astonishing: saint to symbolists and surrealists; poster child for anarchy and drug use: gay pioneer; and a major influence on such artists as Picasso, Bob Dylan, and Jim Morrison.At the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud turned his back on his artistic achievement. For his remaining sixteen years he lived in exile, ending up as a major explorer and arms trader in Abyssinia. The genius of Graham Robb's account is to join the two halves of this life, to show Rimbaud's wild and unsettling poetry as a blueprint for the exotic adventures to come. This is the story of Rimbaud the explorer, in mind and in matter.
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When he was not yet 17, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) electrified Paris's literary society with the incendiary poems that later made him the guiding saint of 20th-century rebels, from Pablo Picasso to Jim Morrison. "A Season in Hell," "The Drunken Boat," and the prose poems of Illuminations were epochal works that changed the nature of an art form--and yet their author abandoned poetry at age 21 and spent the rest of his short life as a colonial adventurer in Arabia and Africa. "He was writing in a void," explains British scholar Graham Robb. "In 1876, most of Rimbaud's admirers either were still in the nursery or had yet to be conceived." Hardly surprising, since the poet was a difficult and frequently unpleasant person to actually know. The Parisian poets who took him under their wing soon discovered that Rimbaud was ungrateful, crude, and as scornful of their precious verse as he was of the Catholic Church, bourgeois proprieties, and everything else his disapproving mother held dear. Rimbaud's stormy affair with Paul Verlaine estranged the older poet from his wife and, eventually, from most of his artistic friends as well. In Robb's depiction, the poet possessed from his earliest youth a restless, searching intellect that permitted no compromise with convention nor tenderness for others' weaknesses. The author doesn't soften Rimbaud's "savage cynicism" or gloss over his frequently obnoxious behavior, yet Robb arouses our admiration for "one of the great Romantic imaginations, festering in damp, provincial rooms like an intelligent disease." Like Robb's excellent biographies of Hugo and Balzac, this sharp, subtle, unsentimental portrait is both erudite and beautifully written. --Wendy SmithAbout the Author:
Graham Robb's two previous books, Victor Hugoand Balzac, were New York Times Notable Books. He lives in Oxford, England.
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Book Description Oct 01, 2000. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # RX9-J4R-R0W
Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First American Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0393049558
Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110393049558
Book Description W. W. Norton & Company. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0393049558 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0129698