The Brief Wondrous Career of Arthur Rimbaud (1870–1874)

Arthur Rim­baud, once described by Vic­tor Hugo as ‘an infant Shake­speare,’ burst onto the Parisan lit­er­ary scene in 1870, short­ly before he was 16. By the time 1874 rolled around, Rim­baud had bro­ken the con­ven­tions of poet­ry and fash­ioned a new, mod­ern poet­ic lan­guage. He had pub­lished all of his major works — Illu­mi­na­tions, Une sai­son en enfer, etc. and had his absinthe/hashish-fueled affair with Paul Ver­laine. Then, com­mit­ting an act that still haunts his fans today, the 20 year old renounced poet­ry utter­ly and com­plete­ly and start­ed trav­el­ing the world.

The mys­tery of Rim­baud’s renun­ci­a­tion and his short-lived lit­er­ary career gets revis­it­ed in this week’s edi­tion of The New York­er.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Tom Waits Reads Charles Bukows­ki

Poems as Short Films: Langston Hugh­es, Pablo Neru­da and More

Bill Mur­ray Reads Poet­ry at Con­struc­tion Site

Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

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