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Rimbaud originally distributed A Season In Hell to friends as a self-published booklet, and soon afterward, at the age of nineteen, quit poetry altogether. New Directions’s edition was among the first to be published in the U.S., ...
Rimbaud originally distributed A Season In Hell to friends as a self-published booklet, and soon afterward, at the age of nineteen, quit poetry altogether. New Directions’s edition was among the first to be published in the U.S., and it quickly became a classic. Rimbaud’s famous poem “The Drunken Boat” was subsequently added to the first paperbook printing. Allen Ginsberg proclaimed Arthur Rimbaud as “the first punk” — a visionary mentor to the Beats for both his recklessness and his fiery poetry.
This new edition proudly dons the original Alvin Lustig–designed cover, and a introduction by another famous rebel — and now National Book Award–winner — Patti Smith.
This new translation captures the tone and rhythm of Rimbaud's language as well as the quality of his thought.
|A Rimbaud Chronology||vii|
|Une Saison En Enfer||2|
|A Season in Hell||3|
|Le Bateau Ivre||92|
|The Drunken Boat||93|
Posted March 7, 2013
Since he was the age of fifteen, Rimbaud (1854-1891) had begun to demonstrate a bizarre and mysterious style of writing. His poems would reveal the anguish in his mind towards the world. His writing would portray a deep hopelessness during his times traveling across Europe, as if he never found the peace of a place to call his home. He once said that he is no different from his Gallic ancestors because he was also a slave to sacrilege and idolatry. However, while he lived among his vices, anger, lust, and sloth—he knew much about the word of God and this tormented him. Like the preface of A Season In Hell said, “He is at once a savior and a betrayer...Grappling with the civil war of his personality, he prays bitterly to be good but is not able...What he fears most is to be judged a fraud by God... In misery's company you will find him, tramping the luminous sewer of his own circulatory system with all his marvelous contradictions intact.” Like his confusing personality, his writing is also a maze, resulting in the countless interpretations of A Season In Hell.
Rimbaud attempts to relate to his readers by painting the horrors that love and life creates, through this poem. His vocabulary is haunting and leaves one with a sense of eeriness after discovering the tone of the poem. A Season In Hell explores the seasons of pain and despair of Rimbaud's life: his past, his lost dreams, his relationship with a lover, his time spent in hell, and his escape from hell into a new life. However, it must be said, that once entering into the puzzles of this poem, one may never find the true meaning of Rimbaud's writing. It has a deep complexity that causes many different interpretations among its readers. One also has to keep in mind that Rimbaud was once a slave to drugs and alcohol, which may explain the puzzling ideas that he uses. However, whether Rimbaud smoked hashish or not, there is no doubt he was a genius. When considering that he quit writing at twenty years old and was only nineteen years old when he wrote A Season In Hell, one can only wonder what could have been if he would have never stopped.
Near the end of the book, there is a separate poem by Rimbaud, titled The Drunken Boat. However, this one-hundred line poem is on a level of much more clarity than its opener. Like the poem before it, The Drunken Boat is orchestrated with parables of the wonders and horrors of having love for another. Rimbaud again utilizes strong and clever metaphors, such as the giant whale that rots before him, which may symbolize the gigantic pain or anxiety that love murders with. With these powerful parables, one may even become convinced that it is better to avoid love relationships. In other words, Rimbaud could have said that the beautiful pleasures of love are not worth the tormenting agony behind it. Although reading this particular translation of Rimbaud's A Season In Hell and The Drunken Boat may have brought much confusion and frustration to my reading, there is no doubt that it was a delightful experience, as it caused me to discover a new perspective on understanding the world.
Posted March 6, 2013
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