Season in Hell: An English Translation from the French

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iUniverse, Mar 1, 2004 - Literary Collections - 104 pages
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Arthur Rimbaud wrote a few pieces that set French poetry aghast around 1873. He'd taken to wandering Europe in lieu of university. His teachers hated him. There was a sort of subtle but perverse defiance to his work. He would create new words to describe the world around him, and produced pages of rhyming Latin verse in his mathematics class while taking notes. For a time he produced Latin homework for his fellow students and appeared, for a time, to raise the general standard. He criticized every popular structural form and his writings provided a new basis for creative literature in Europe. At the age of 21 Rimbaud renounced writing to explore distant countries. In 12 years he passed through almost 28 countries and amassed a small fortune in gold before complications from a gangrenous leg injury led to his untimely death. He became the first European to travel through northern Ethiopia. Confronted in North Africa by an employer, who told him his adolescent prose was not only alive in Europe but launching a career of its own, is quoted as one histrionic outburst. His former employer, Alfred Barley, wrote: [Rimbaud] would never allow me to mention his former literary works. Sometimes I asked him why he didn't take it up again. All I ever got were the usual replies: "Absurd, ridiculous, disgusting, etc."

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About the author (2004)

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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