Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel

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The distinguished biographer, novelist, and memoirist Edmund White brings his literary mastery to a new biography of Arthur Rimbaud.

Poet and prodigy Arthur Rimbaud led a life that was startlingly short, but just as dramatically eventful and accomplished. Even today, over a century after his death in 1891, his visionary poetry has continued to influence everyone from Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan to Patti Smith. His long poem A Season in Hell (1873) and his collection Illuminations (1886) are essential to the modern canon, marked by a hallucinatory and hypnotic style that defined the Symbolist movement in poetry. Having sworn off writing at the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud drifted around the world from scheme to scheme, ultimately dying from an infection contracted while running guns in Africa. He was thirty-seven.

Edmund White writes with a historian's eye for detail, driven by a genuine personal investment in his subject. White delves deep into the young poet's relationships with his family, his teachers, and his notorious affair with the more established poet Paul Verlaine. He follows the often elusive (sometimes blatant) threads of sexual taboo that haunt Rimbaud's poems (in those days, sodomy was a crime) and offers incisive interpretations of the poems, using his own artful translations to bring us closer to the mercurial poet.

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About the Author:

Raised in the Midwest and Texas, Edmund White is a renowned author and literary and cultural critic. He is the author of biographies of Genet and—in the Penguin Lives series—of Proust, and of eight novels including Hotel de Dream. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He teaches at Princeton and lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Here is a lean, incisive biographical-critical book by one of our outstanding literary commentators. In compelling personal writing, White (Genet: A Biography) shows how one of the heroes of French culture, Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891), led a double life—in many forms. He who famously declared, I is another, abruptly abandoned the literary life, virtually as a teenager, for more than 15 years until his death. Unconventionally beautiful, from a provincial middle-class background and something of a mama's boy, the lover of Paul Verlaine was bisexual and secretly craved conventional worldly success even as his aesthetic was in the Symbolist art-for-art's-sake mode, portrayed by White as part shaman, part alcoholic and drug addict, part Catholic saint, Rimbaud remains a phenomenon in world literature. Included in this literary biography are White's superb translations of works he is discussing and fresh insights into Rimbaud's destructive relationship with Verlaine in particular, as well as with other poets, family, friends and business associates. This is a disturbing and original portrait of a man White sees as a fallen angel who misbehaved even in hell. (Oct. 6)
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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781843549727: Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1843549727 ISBN 13:  9781843549727
Publisher: Atlantic Books, 2001
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9781934633205: Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel

Atlas, 2009
Softcover

9781843549710: Rimbaud : The Double Life of a Rebel

Atlant..., 2009
Hardcover

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