A Season in Hell

( 2 )



edited and translated by Andrew Jary

A new translation of Arthur Rimbaud's extraordinary poetic statement, written in 1873. The sensual, violent and anguished emotion in Rimbaud's visionary 'alchemy of the word' remains startling, and continues to inspire poets.

Printed with the French text facing the translation.

For a time, when he was a ...

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A Season in Hell

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edited and translated by Andrew Jary

A new translation of Arthur Rimbaud's extraordinary poetic statement, written in 1873. The sensual, violent and anguished emotion in Rimbaud's visionary 'alchemy of the word' remains startling, and continues to inspire poets.

Printed with the French text facing the translation.

For a time, when he was a teenager until he was 19, art was crucial for the psychic well-being of the restless Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891). The young would-be rebel Rimbaud escaped from the bland provincial town of Charleville in Northern France to wander the streets of Paris in poverty. After writing his Illuminations and A Season in Hell, some of the most extraordinary poems of all world literature, Rimbaud renounced it all for a hellish and apparently boring life in Aden. 'Mortel, ange ET demon, autant dire Rimbaud,' as Rimbaud's lover, Paul Verlaine wrote ('Mortal, angel AND demon, that is to say Rimbaud'.)

Arthur Rimbaud is the tornado of world poetry. He out-blasts just about every other poet. For poets, he is more significant than the so-called 'founding fathers' or influential philosophers of modern times: Marx, Freud, Nietzsche and Einstein. For poets, he is 'everybody's favourite hippy', a Communard, a 'precursor of the current movement of subversion of Western notions of self, society, and discourse', and a savage mystic.

Arthur Rimbaud is one of the most authentically rebellious of modern poets. Other poets have written of rebellion and radical action, but Rimbaud is one of the very few who actually carried it out (and didn't sound like an idiot when he spoke of it). Picture the young poet in his mid-teens, utterly bored by the living deaths of suburban life, aching to run away to Paris. Though he was dragged back a number of times, Rimbaud's life after his early teens was never again centred in his homeland. True, he returned to his mother, family and homeland, but his true heartland, his landscape of the soul, was elsewhere. Rimbaud was ever a poet of elsewhere, the other place, displacement. He was always another person: 'Je est un autre (I is an other).

He rebelled partly for the joy of rebellion. His early poetry is marked by an extraordinary virulence and anger. Illuminations and A Season in Hell, his major works, are also powered by an immense anger - a cosmic anger, a psycho-cultural-spiritual turmoil.

Illustrated, with a newly revised text for this edition. Introduction, bibliography and notes. ISBN 971861713773.


Winner of The Pen USA Translation Award for 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As a wild, drug-taking teen in the 1870s, Rimbaud helped engender modern poetry. This dizzying, brilliant, blasphemous last book of mostly prose poems explores his angers, gratitudes and regrets about the visions and erotic transports celebrated in earlier poems. Revell (Pennyweight Windows) is just the right kind of poet to bring something new to this familiar work; his own recent verse reflects religious visions, and he has translated Rimbaud's successor, Apollinaire. Rimbaud's verve, fascination with the forbidden, and the self-loathing that led him to give up poetry altogether come across with a confident swagger in Revell's wiry syntax. "I dance... hand-in-hand with hags and children," Rimbaud says. Sometimes Revell modernizes ("Copyright remains with me"); elsewhere he courts controversy (for the much-quoted "Il faut etre absolument moderne," Revell gives "I must"—not "One must"—"be absolutely modern"). Yet Revell's method fits Rimbaud's near-madness: the translation shows, and Revell's afterword explains, how this hallucinatory modernism jump-starts an Anglo-American tradition that leads from Blake to the present day. This is an inspired new version of a strange, harsh classic. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher

Winner of The Pen USA Translation Award for 2008

"Revell's method fits Rimbaud's near-madness. . . . This is an inspired new version of a strange, harsh classic."  —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861713773
  • Publisher: Crescent Moon Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

A volatile and peripatetic poet, the prodigy ARTHUR RIMBAUD wrote all of his poetry in a space of less than five years. His poem "Voyelles" invoked synesthesia, marking him as a founder of French symbolism, and his Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell) is considered one of the first works of free verse. His poetry was subconsciously inspired and highly suggestive; his persona was caustic and unstable. Though brilliant, during his life his peers regarded him as perverse, unsophisticated, and youthfully arrogant, and he died virtually indifferent to his own work.

DONALD REVELL is Professor of English & Director of Creative Writing programs at UNLV. Thief of Strings is his tenth poetry collection, published by Alice James. Donald Revell's previous translations include The Illumninations by Arthur Rimbaud, and A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud, both of which were published by Omnidawn. A Season in Hell won the PSA translation award. His books of essays include Invisible Green: Selected Prose, published by Omnidawn. He serves as poetry editor of Colorado Review. Revell lives in the desert south of Las Vegas with his wife, poet Claudia Keelan, and their children Benjamin Brecht and Lucie Ming.

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Table of Contents

A Season in Hell     18
"Back when..."     20
Bad Blood     22
Night of Hell     36
Deliriums I     42
Deliriums II     52
The Impossible     66
Lightning     72
Morning     74
Farewell     76
A Translator's Afterword: Outrageous Innocence/Innocence Outraged     81
Morning of Drunkenness     98
Suggested Reading     99
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2007

    Beautiful Poetry

    For anyone who isn't a bitter bigot, Rimbaud is an excellent poet with a beautiful grasp of languange and the ability to make his readers feel his emotions as if they were their own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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