Illuminations, and Other Prose Poems

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New Directions Publishing, 1957 - Poetry - 182 pages
14 Reviews
The prose poems of the great French Symbolist, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), have acquired enormous prestige among readers everywhere and have been a revolutionary influence on poetry in the twentieth century. They are offered here both in their original texts and in superb English translations by Louise Varese. Mrs. Varese first published her versions of Rimbaud sIlluminationsin 1946. Since then she has revised her work and has included two poems which in the interim have been reclassified as part ofIlluminations. This edition also contains two other series of prose poems, which include two poems only recently discovered in France, together with an introduction in which Miss Varese discusses the complicated ins and outs of Rimbaldien scholarship and the special qualities of Rimbaud s writing. Rimbaud was indeed the most astonishing of French geniuses. Fired in childhood with an ambition to write, he gave up poetry before he was twenty-one. Yet he had already produced some of the finest examples of French verse. He is best known forA Season in Hell, but his other prose poems are no less remarkable. While he was working on them he spoke of his interest in hallucinations "des vertiges, des silences, des nuits." These perceptions were caught by the poet in a beam of pellucid, and strangely active language which still lights up now here, now there unexplored aspects of experience and thought."
  

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Review: Illuminations

User Review  - Ida Aasebøstøl - Goodreads

Arousing a pleasant taste of Chinese ink, a black powder gently rains on my night, —I lower the jets of the chandelier, throw myself on the bed, and turning toward thedark, I see you, O my daughters and queens! Read full review

Review: Illuminations

User Review  - Goodreads

Arousing a pleasant taste of Chinese ink, a black powder gently rains on my night, —I lower the jets of the chandelier, throw myself on the bed, and turning toward thedark, I see you, O my daughters and queens! Read full review

Contents

AFTER THE DELUGE Apres le Deluge
6
TALE Conte
16
ANTIQUE Antique
24
DEPARTURE Depart
34
MORNING OF DRUNKENNESS Matinee dlvresse
40
WORKING PEOPLE Ouvriers
50
CITY Ville
56
VAGABONDS Vagabonds
64
BARBARIAN Barbare
100
SCENES
108
MOTION Mouvement
116
H H
122
DEMOCRACY Democratic
128
GENIE CfmV
134
YOUTH nmesse
140
SALE SoWr
146

CITIES Villes
68
VIGILS Vcilices
74
DAWN Auhe
80
COMMON NOCTURNE Nocturne Vulgaire
86
WINTER FETE Fete dHiver
92
THE DESERTS OF LOVE Lei Deserts de lAmour
152
THREE GOSPEL MORALITIES Trots Meditations ohan
162
Notes on Some Corrections and Revisions
170
Copyright

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About the author (1957)

Arthur Rimbaud, 1854-1891 Arthur Rimbaud was born October 20, 1854. He was the son of an army captain who deserted his family when Arthur was six years old. He attended a provincial school in Charleville, a town in northeastern France, and was a brilliant student until the Franco-Prussian war. It was then Rimbaud turned rebel and fled his home. As a boy, Rimbaud wrote some of the most remarkable poetry of the 19th century. His rhythmic experiments in his prose poems "Illuminations" (1886; eng.trans.,1932) identified him as one of the creators of free verse. Synesthesia, (the description of one sense experience in terms of another), was popularized by his "Sonnet of the Vowels" (1871;Eng. Trans., 1966) where each vowel is assigned a color. After Rimbaud fled his home in July 1870, a year of drifting followed. During this time, he had sent some poems to Paul Verlaine. In 1871, he was invited to Paris where Verlaine rejected him as a drunk. In spite of that, he and Verlaine became lovers and the relationship continued sporadically over two years and formed the core of disillusionment in "A Season in Hell." After the affair ended, Rimbaud abandoned his writing. At the time he was not yet 20 years old. Rimbaud transformed himself becoming a trader and gunrunner in Africa. On November 10, 1891, he died in Marseille following the amputation of his cancerous right leg.

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