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Arthur Rimbaud

(20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891 / Charleville, Ardennes)

Biography


Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud, a French poet, was born Oct.20,1854, in Charleville. His childhood was marred by a 'cantankerous and vindictive' mother and by the discipline of the local school, but his poetic virtuosity was extraordinary. By the age of fifteen he had written verse in imitation of the Romanticists (Vers de College,1932) , and one of his teachers, Izambard, introduced him to contemporary poetry. He was fiercely revolutionary, and wrote the words 'Down with God' on the public benches of Charleville. He ran away from his native town, twice to Paris and once into Belgium, and once he spent 10 days in prison for travelling by train without a ticket. During these escapades, he wrote such poems as Ma Boheme and Le Cabaret vert.
In 1871, in Charleville, he wrote his first prose poems and the Lettres du voyant, and sent to Verlaine a copy of his poem Le Bateau ivre. Verlaine was enthusiastic with the work and encouraged Rimbaud to come to Paris. At this time he had already started the composition of his Illuminations, which was not published until 1886. Verlaine and Rimbaud drifted into an affair. He served in the army of the Commune, and after its fall he went abroad with Verlaine, travelling in England and Belgium. In 1873, in Brussels, he was shot in the wrist by Verlaine, who was condemned to 2 years' imprisonment in the city of Mons for the act. After the incident, Rimbaud wrote a new Illuminations and Une Saison en Enfer.

In november 1893, Rimbaud gave up the writing of poetry and started traveling through Europe on foot. He returned once more to Paris and then disappeared for 16 years. Part of this time he spent in the East, but the greater part was in Ethiopia, where he dealt in contraband firearms, in ivory and gold, and perhaps in slaves. In 1891 he became ill, returned to France to have one leg amputated, and died on November 10 in a Marseille hospital.

Submitted: Monday, January 30, 2006

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