A Season in Hell & Illuminations

Overview


"With skill and imagination, Bertrand Mathieu gives us an intimacy of the spoken American that allows readers to absorb themselves in Rimbaud's private drama as in an obsessive dream of our own.... Mathieu has earned our gratitude and praise for his accomplishment: to have given Rimbaud his contemporary relevance for us."--David Ignatow

This new translation captures the tone and rhythm of Rimbaud's language as well as the quality of his thought.

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Overview


"With skill and imagination, Bertrand Mathieu gives us an intimacy of the spoken American that allows readers to absorb themselves in Rimbaud's private drama as in an obsessive dream of our own.... Mathieu has earned our gratitude and praise for his accomplishment: to have given Rimbaud his contemporary relevance for us."--David Ignatow

This new translation captures the tone and rhythm of Rimbaud's language as well as the quality of his thought.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780918526892
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 12/1/1991
  • Language: French
  • Series: New American Translations Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,071,392
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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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Table of Contents

Rimbaud's Life and Work 3
A Note on Translation 34
Une Saison en enfer 40
A Season in Hell 41
Les Illuminations 106
The Illuminations 107
Index of French Titles 180
Index of English Titles 181
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2000

    Absolute Human

    In 'Season in Hell', Rimbaud has chosen to affirm himself as an ideal human: before us is a voice steeped in the languages of the widespread forms of consciousness historically coexisting within culture; forms whose seeming lack of relation is surpassed by a thought that captures their inherent conceptual quality (and dignity) -their purest essence- by dedicating a spiritual epoch of its life to becoming (and thus exploring) each and every one of them. That is, Rimbaud shares with us his experience of having been, through the engaged efforts and workings of his thought, all the forms of the human he was able to become: as himself, in social terms, he became the savage, the poor man, the adventurer, the worker; as a Westerner, he became, momentarily, through cultural right, the judge, the priest, the general, Nobility and Honor; outside the West (outside his culture and himself), he saw and became the pagan, the Black man, and the Orient. Thus, as a thinker, he transforms into the Absolute of the Human: he makes himself responsible for all sentient things, for all the forms of consciousness, for the Zeitgeist, for the World. He accomplishes this by understanding and encarnating the Art of the Possible: that is, he is a politician in a spiritual sense. But in this ascension through the knowledge of his self-made all powerfull epistemological ego, he must also stop to plough the earth of his psychology (which he invariably sees a mere object): there, he acknowledges the reality of having undergone, as a person, suffering, madnesses, and degradations. These things, these hells, however, do not frighten him (despite the residuals of Christian guilt which he yet feels, as a man of the Ocident): he willingly makes and accepts himself as responsible for his lot in life and his actions. In the end, he recognizes himself as an agent of his culture, and opts for the concrete ideality of a radical real-realism: to be an absolute human individual, with his sight set towards the future, determined not to live in vain with the rest of the world.

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