A Season in Hell and The Illuminations

A Season in Hell and The Illuminations

by Arthur Rimbaud
     
 
Although he abandoned poetry before he was twenty-one years old, and wrote for only five or six years in all, Arthur Rimbaud has had an extraordinary influence on modern poetry. His work helped inspire poetic Symbolism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. Rimbaud dreamed of re-creating life through his words. Not content merely to describe the world, he longed to reorder it

Overview

Although he abandoned poetry before he was twenty-one years old, and wrote for only five or six years in all, Arthur Rimbaud has had an extraordinary influence on modern poetry. His work helped inspire poetic Symbolism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. Rimbaud dreamed of re-creating life through his words. Not content merely to describe the world, he longed to reorder it through his revolutionary poetry. He rebelled against all forms of hypocrisy, as well as against conventional concepts of love, morality, religion, and art. He even dreamed of liberating women from "endless servitude." Written a century ago, A Season in Hell and The Illuminations read like the works of an avant-garde poet of today. In her Introduction dealing with Rimbaud's life and work, Enid Rhodes Peschel discusses his concept of the voyant, the poet-visionary he dreamed of becoming through a "reasoned deranging of all his senses." A Season in Hell, which combines autobiography with self-appraisal, vision and hallucination, reflects Rimbaud's tortures in trying to be a voyant. The forty-two poems of The Illuminations, kaleidoscopic evocations of a universe in continual evolution, are further evidence of his attempts to reach this transcendent state. Enid Rhodes Peschel has succeeded in not only translating these works but in recreating them. Eye, ear, mind, and heart have all been engaged in her effort to capture the tone and rhythm of Rimbaud's language as well as the quality of his thought.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Each new generation looks forward to fresh translations of classic works, and the publisher has obliged with these bilingual versions of 19th-century France's most notorious poets. The poems found in Flowers of Evil reflect the hardship and suffering in Baudelaire's life. Their psychological atmosphere evolves around a double character, that of an artist interpreting the universe and that of a human being searching for the self through the torment of a spiritual and emotional chaos. Baudelaire was harshly prosecuted for obscenity and blasphemy, and six of the poems presented here were banned until 1949. Intended as a complement and a companion to Flower of Evil , the prose poems of Paris Spleen appear even more pessimistic, sentimental, and chaotic, symbolizing the disharmony of the modern human being. This very successful new translation is highly recommended. Rimbaud's Season in Hell is a combination of an autobiography and an enigmatic dream sequence. A first-person narrator with various voices and personalities depicts his struggle to overcome suffering. Rimbaud, one of the most imaginative French poets, reveals the tensions between the poet's dreams and reality, hope and despair. In Illusions , the adolescent poet merges the sky, the sea, and the land into a new and enigmatic universe of explosive beauty and fantastic landscapes. The tone of the narrator in both poems is frequently sarcastic and ironic but highly poetic. The translation is generally successful, though not as outstanding as that of Baudelaire's works. Still, it is recommended as an insightful new look at Rimbaud's poetry.-- Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195017601
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/09/1974
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
1080L (what's this?)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

This book brings together two of the most notorious artistic rebels of their respective eras, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) and Robert Mapplethorpe. Rimbaud wrote most of his work as a teenager, then renounced poetry to pursue an adventurous but unprofitable career as a soldier, coffee trader, and gun runner. The controversial and highly regarded photographer Robert Mapplethorpe earned acclaim during the late 1980s for his nudes, portraits, and still lifes. Books with Bulfinch are: Robert Mapplethorpe (1988), Some Women (1989) and Flowers (1990). Paul Schmidt has translated the complete works of Rimbaud as well as selected works of Chekhov, Pushkin and other Russian authors.

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