Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage

Overview

In A Season in Hell, at the age of eighteen, the French poet Arthur Rimbaud predicted the rest of his life: 'My day is done; I'm leaving Europe. The sea air will burn my lungs; lost climes will tan my skin.' Three years later, in 1876, he joined the Royal Army of the Dutch Indies as an infantryman and sailed for Java, where he promptly deserted and fled into the jungle. It was the most enigmatic passage in his life crowded with puzzles and contrarieties.

In the first book ...

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Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage

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Overview

In A Season in Hell, at the age of eighteen, the French poet Arthur Rimbaud predicted the rest of his life: 'My day is done; I'm leaving Europe. The sea air will burn my lungs; lost climes will tan my skin.' Three years later, in 1876, he joined the Royal Army of the Dutch Indies as an infantryman and sailed for Java, where he promptly deserted and fled into the jungle. It was the most enigmatic passage in his life crowded with puzzles and contrarieties.

In the first book devoted to Rimbaud's lost voyage to Asia, the novelist and critic Jamie James reviews everything that is known about the episode; from there, he imaginatively spirals into a reconstruction of what the poet must have seen and informed speculation about what he might have done, vividly recreating life in nineteenth-century Java along the way. Rimbaud in Java concludes with an inquiry into what the Orient represented in the poet's imagination, with a scandalous, amusing history of French orientalism. James' surprising book is a richly concentrated blend of biography, criticism and thought-travel, which brings into sharp focus this brief encounter between a great writer and a vanished world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jamie James's Rimbaud in Java is a delightful work on many levels...From its sepia print to its bevelled edges, it evokes a lightly self-mocking and nostalgic charm that precisely echoes that of its prose."
-Nigel Barley, Times Literary Supplement, November 11, 2011

...a high-wire performance...the spectacle of reading someone write beautifully about something he finds, well, beautiful... The book shines a torch down the well of the nineteenth century and illuminates a little patch on an inner wall near the bottom... Microhistory? If it's the beginning of a trend I won't complain. Zadie Smith, Harper's Magazine, November 2011

...an intriguing new book about this wild-child poet that leaps boundaries.Jan McGirk, Huffington Post, September 29, 2011
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jan-mcgirk/review-rimbaud-in-java-th_b_984556.html

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789814260824
  • Publisher: Didier Millet,Csi
  • Publication date: 10/16/2011
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 982,736
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Jamie James is a former art critic for The New Yorker. He has lived in Indonesia since 1999, and co-owns two restaurants in Bali. He has contributed to The Atlantic Monthly and Condé Nast Traveller and published two novels, Andrew & Joey: A Tale of Bali and The Java Man, as well as The Snake Charmer, a biography of the legendary American field biologist Joe Slowinski.
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