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Friday, July 30, 2010

French Poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)

Today I received a copy of Arthur Rimbaud Complete Works, translated by Paul Schmidt, I had ordered from ebay. Very exciting, his prose poetry is among the best ever written, and his is the classic, tragic story of the decadent, explosive poet. Strangely enough, most of his literary output was created before the tender age of 18, and he abandoned creative writing altogether before he was 21.

I have read some of his work before, and I particularly enjoyed 'A Season In Hell', arguably his best collection of prose poetics, and widely believed to be his creative swan song, his final writings. A brief excerpt from 'A Season In Hell', from the piece entitled 'Second Delirium: The Alchemy Of The Word':

"I became a fabulous opera. I saw that everyone in the world was doomed to happiness. Action isn't life; it's merely a way of ruining a kind of strength, a means of destroying nerves. Morality is water on the brain.

It seemed to me that everyone should have had several other lives as well. This gentleman doesn't know what he's doing; he's an angel. That family is a litter of puppy dogs. With some men, I often talked out loud with a moment from one of their other lives - that's how I happened to love a pig.

Not a single one of the brlliant arguments of madness - the madness that gets locked up - did I forget; I could go through them all again, I've got the system down by heart.

It affected my health. Terror loomed ahead. I would fall again and again into a heavy sleep, which lasted several days at a time, and when I woke up, my sorrowful dreams continued. I was ripe for fatal harvest, and my weakness led me down dangerous roads to the edge of the world, to the Cimmerian shore, the haven of whirlwinds and darkness."

Anticipating the arrival of the book, I had Netflix deliver a copy of 'Total Eclipse', starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Arthur Rimbaud. The movie (which I haven't seen yet) apparently details Rimbaud's relationship with poet Paul Verlaine. I am looking forward to watching the movie and then diving into the book, hopefully enhancing the experience of each.

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