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Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters by…
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Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters (edition 1966)

by Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud (Author)

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Title:Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters
Authors:Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud (Author)
Info:University Of Chicago Press (1966), Edition: 1, 370 pages
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Complete Works by Arthur Rimbaud

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» See also 9 mentions

English (10)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
(This review refers to the Paul Schmidt translation published first in 1976. I read the 18th printing of the 2008 Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition, which contains additional material at the end.)

I have spent the better part of the last two days reading this book, my first foray into the works of Arthur Rimbaud. I was drawn to read this after reading the marvelous oral history of punk rock, Please Kill Me, and being reminded of what an influence Rimbaud was on people like Patti Smith (and before her, Bob Dylan). The meaning of Dylan’s line from Blood on the Tracks about his relationships having been like Verlaine’s and Rimbaud’s is much clearer now.

But I also feel inadequate to even read this work in so many ways. There are so many allusions lost—Rimbaud had a classical education that few intelligent folks of our time have, so despite being pretty smart myself, if qualifying for Mensa means anything—which it probably doesn’t—much just flies by me. There is also what I call “The Jimi Hendrix Effect.” By this I mean my experience in discovering the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix, long after his death. After hearing how revolutionary it was, it was difficult to bear that out in the actual listening, since so many guitarists I was familiar with already had been so influenced by Hendrix. Hendrix had some great songs, but it took a lot of listens to begin to really appreciate his style. Perhaps the same will be true with Rimbaud. But with Hendrix, there was no translation to deal with.

On first reading, Rimbaud’s work is certainly striking, especially given how young he was when he wrote it. At 16, he is already an old man in many ways. But the words and images, though often vivid, usually fail to leave a “whole” impression with me. Though not difficult to read, these are difficult works to understand. Rimbaud’s letters are much clearer and they provide much needed insight into his life and thoughts, much more than the brief biographical sketches that the translator opens each section with. Most modern readers would certainly benefit from a more critical edition that at least offers some background and theories about each work. But, I suppose, an edition laden with footnotes would have spoiled the experience of reading Rimbaud in as unadorned manner as possible. What emerges after I read him are feelings rather than coherent thoughts and conclusions. But I was constantly engaged when reading, and the more or less chronological ordering of the book is helpful. By the time we get to “A Season in Hell” we can appreciate it based on our at least partial understanding of what has gone before.

The story of Rimbaud’s life is a sad one. But he spent much of it doing what he chose to do, and even his last years toiling in Africa have a kind of fatalistic heroism about them. He would be pleased with the legacy he has left and the influence he still provides to those who would be his kindred spirits. ( )
  datrappert | Mar 3, 2019 |
I only wish there was more.
  Paperpuss | Feb 25, 2019 |
I discovered Rimbaud in High School, and since then his tormented and garroulous spirit have inspired me and I find myself returning to his prose and poetry often......this is a complete collection of his work, edited by Wyatt Mason; and I still read this like it was new and fresh to me. His words and wording bring up not just images, but an illusion that is immediately recognizable and relatable. This book is divided according to periods of his life, but every piece could stand alone. I find in his work, so many sentences that to me are amazing and thought provoking. This is what stays with me, his words, and how he can twist a sentence to wrap around itself and leave you so sure of his emotive, you feel you could have written it yourself.... ( )
  over.the.edge | Sep 16, 2018 |
Incredibly emotional and beautiful stuff. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Every young man should read this, at least those serious about life, love, literature, and art. I was in my early twenties and was told about it by a friend in college. I was in the process of deranging my own senses at the time and it was a wonderful roadmap. ( )
  apc251 | May 10, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rimbaud, Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fowlie, WallaceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Margoni, IvosEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mason, WyattTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226719731, Paperback)

Wallace Fowlie's prose translations accompany the original French texts in this, the first complete bilingual edition of Rimbaud's work in prose and poetry.

"This handsome edition, which makes France's most remarkable poet readily available in the U.S., may well be a literary landmark comparable to Baudelaire's introduction of Edgar Allan Poe in France a century earlier."--Anna Balakian, New York Times Book Review

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:14 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A complete collection of poetry and pros by the revolutionary nineteenth-century poet includes an introduction to the life, work, myth, and influence of Arthur Rimbaud.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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