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Although Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing at the age of 19, he possessed the most revolutionary talent of the century. His poetry & prose have increasingly influenced major writers. To his masterpiece A Season in Hell is here added Rimbaud's longest & possibly greatest single poem The Drunken Boat, with the original French en face Illuminations, Rimbaud's major works are ava Although Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing at the age of 19, he possessed the most revolutionary talent of the century. His poetry & prose have increasingly influenced major writers. To his masterpiece A Season in Hell is here added Rimbaud's longest & possibly greatest single poem The Drunken Boat, with the original French en face Illuminations, Rimbaud's major works are available as bilingual New Directions Paperbooks. The reputation of A Season in Hell, which is a poetic record of a man's examination of his own depths, has steadily increased over the years. Upon the 1st publication of Varese's translation by New Directions, the Saturday Review wrote: "One may at last suggest that the translation of A Season in Hell has reached a conclusive point..." Concerning the 25-stanza The Drunken Boat, Dr Enid Starkie of Oxford University has written: "(It's) an anthology of separate lines of astonishing evocative magic which linger in the mind like isolated jewels." Rimbaud's life was so extraordinary that it has taken on the quality of a myth. A biographical chronology is included.


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Although Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing at the age of 19, he possessed the most revolutionary talent of the century. His poetry & prose have increasingly influenced major writers. To his masterpiece A Season in Hell is here added Rimbaud's longest & possibly greatest single poem The Drunken Boat, with the original French en face Illuminations, Rimbaud's major works are ava Although Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing at the age of 19, he possessed the most revolutionary talent of the century. His poetry & prose have increasingly influenced major writers. To his masterpiece A Season in Hell is here added Rimbaud's longest & possibly greatest single poem The Drunken Boat, with the original French en face Illuminations, Rimbaud's major works are available as bilingual New Directions Paperbooks. The reputation of A Season in Hell, which is a poetic record of a man's examination of his own depths, has steadily increased over the years. Upon the 1st publication of Varese's translation by New Directions, the Saturday Review wrote: "One may at last suggest that the translation of A Season in Hell has reached a conclusive point..." Concerning the 25-stanza The Drunken Boat, Dr Enid Starkie of Oxford University has written: "(It's) an anthology of separate lines of astonishing evocative magic which linger in the mind like isolated jewels." Rimbaud's life was so extraordinary that it has taken on the quality of a myth. A biographical chronology is included.

30 review for A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    “And so my heartaches kept growing and growing, and I saw myself going more and more to pieces – and everyone else would have seen it, too, if I hadn’t been so miserable that no one even looked at me anymore! and still more and more I craved his affection… His kisses and his friendly arms around me were just like heaven – a dark heaven, that I could go into, and where I wanted only to be left – poor, deaf, dumb, and blind. Already, I was getting to depend on it. And I used to imagine that we wer “And so my heartaches kept growing and growing, and I saw myself going more and more to pieces – and everyone else would have seen it, too, if I hadn’t been so miserable that no one even looked at me anymore! and still more and more I craved his affection… His kisses and his friendly arms around me were just like heaven – a dark heaven, that I could go into, and where I wanted only to be left – poor, deaf, dumb, and blind. Already, I was getting to depend on it. And I used to imagine that we were two happy children free to wander in a Paradise of sadness." Unknown beyond the avant-garde at the time of his death in 1891, Arthur Rimbaud has become one of the most liberating influences on twentieth-century poets and of culture. Rimbaud’s A Season In Hell & The Drunken Boat is a personal cry of damnation as well as a plea to be released from the chains of his own profundity. Rimbaud originally distributed A Season In Hell to friends as a self-published booklet, and soon afterward, at the age of only nineteen, yes nineteen! quit poetry altogether. This beautifully dark composition in terms of translation is compelling and excellently done for those who are not versed in his native French. This young man was indeed a rare creator. An outcast of society, a vagabond in decadence and carousing avenging scandal, however a living man of flowing movement, unlike our dead, civilized and rational society. And for this, the man and his poetry snubbed and forgotten, only to be noticed at a later time and recognized for its aesthetic, passionate value. This is typical with almost all true creators of autonomous ability and dangerous living. This short book is filled with pain and chaos, but also soaring with the energy of life. Not quite as good as Illuminations, but for the poetry connoisseur it's definitely worth reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A nine-part prose poem reflecting on madness, decadence, and despair, A Season in Hell sketches fragments of a turbulent inner life. Each piece mythicizes the poet’s personal life, framing his teenaged existential angst as a season in hell; across a series of loosely connected lurid images Rimbaud rants about everything from his Gaulish ancestry to an ill-fated romance. The writing feels less modern and sharp than that in Illuminations, but flashes of brilliance make the work compelling.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    I ought to have a special hell for my anger, a hell for my pride, ~~ and a hell for sex; a whole symphony of hells! A Season in Hell ~~ Arthur Rimbaud I read Rimbaud in my youth. I read of the number of rock stars who were influenced by Rimbaud , & thought I better jump on this bandwagon. Being an upper, middle class, white boy of 14 I loved the imagery, but it's true meanings were lost on me. I sported a red, Rimbaud t-shirt, carried a small volume of his collected poems with me and th I ought to have a special hell for my anger, a hell for my pride, ~~ and a hell for sex; a whole symphony of hells! A Season in Hell ~~ Arthur Rimbaud I read Rimbaud in my youth. I read of the number of rock stars who were influenced by Rimbaud , & thought I better jump on this bandwagon. Being an upper, middle class, white boy of 14 I loved the imagery, but it's true meanings were lost on me. I sported a red, Rimbaud t-shirt, carried a small volume of his collected poems with me and thought I was the epitome of the cool, but tortured, artistic teenager. I really thought I got it whatever it was. Flash forward many years later. I decided to seriously delve into Rimbaud . And this time, I got it ~~ or so I think I did ... Rimbaud was born in Charleville, north-east France, in 1854. A gifted student ~~ he was also restless ~~ this led to his running away to Paris ~~ where he became the lover of symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. The stormy relationship, along with their hashish and absinthe fueled lifestyle, caused quite a scandal in European literary circles. Things came crashing down when Verlaine pulling a gun wounded his younger partner. It was during this time that Rimbaud was writing most of the verse for which he is remembered. His life as a poet was a short one, however, as he soon gave up writing and began wandering the world before settling into arms and coffee dealing in Africa. He died in France from syphilis and cancer, aged 37. A Season in Hell & The Drunken Boat are marked by a youthful passion and aggression. In addition, Rimbaud's writing is also rich in symbolism and metaphor ~~ Rimbaud so skilfully applies these that many poets still adopt his techniques to this day. Rimbaud presents himself as a gleeful, arrogant youth without and ounce of apology. A SEASON IN HELL Once, if my memory serves me well, my life was a banquet where every heart revealed itself, where every wine flowed. One evening I took Beauty in my arms - and I thought her bitter - and I insulted her. I steeled myself against justice. I fled. O witches, O misery, O hate, my treasure was left in your care! I have withered within me all human hope. With the silent leap of a sullen beast, I have downed and strangled every joy. I have called for executioners; I want to perish chewing on their gun butts. I have called for plagues, to suffocate in sand and blood. Unhappiness has been my god. I have lain down in the mud, and dried myself off in the crime-infested air. I have played the fool to the point of madness. And springtime brought me the frightful laugh of an idiot. Now recently, when I found myself ready to croak! I thought to seek the key to the banquet of old, where I might find an appetite again. That key is Charity. - This idea proves I was dreaming! "You will stay a hyena, etc...," shouts the demon who once crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Seek death with all your desires, and all selfishness, and all the Seven Deadly Sins." Ah! I've taken too much of that: - still, dear Satan, don't look so annoyed, I beg you! And while waiting for a few belated cowardices, since you value in a writer all lack of descriptive or didactic flair, I pass you these few foul pages from the diary of a Damned Soul. What are you rebelling against? the local girl asks one of the motorcyclists in the 1953 movie The Wild One. Brando drawls, Whaddaya got? And that is true too of Rimbaud ~~ it wasn't the cause that fueled his passions, it was the act enthralled Rimbaud , who revolutionized literature and then abandoned it at the age nineteen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cody

    This will be brief. While looking for a particular title for a friend in a box of old books today, I came across this. I hadn't read Rimbaud in, god, twenty+ years? As a painfully twee, suis generis teenager, I guess he was a bit of a hero: a drunken, libidinal monster who, well, got laid a whole hell of a lot more than I did (though I matched him drink for drink). It's dogeared and bears all the telltales of my youth, underlined passages included. The young ladies, shockingly, did not faint at t This will be brief. While looking for a particular title for a friend in a box of old books today, I came across this. I hadn't read Rimbaud in, god, twenty+ years? As a painfully twee, suis generis teenager, I guess he was a bit of a hero: a drunken, libidinal monster who, well, got laid a whole hell of a lot more than I did (though I matched him drink for drink). It's dogeared and bears all the telltales of my youth, underlined passages included. The young ladies, shockingly, did not faint at the sight of the cardiganed hairfarmer reading a New Directions paperback. Turns out they had every reason not to. Now? Well, his youth shows. "The Drunken Boat" is absolutely gorgeous, and more than a few portions of A Season in Hell are still lovelylovelylovely: -Sometimes, I'll see endless beaches in the skies above, filled with pale rejoicing nations. A great golden vessel, high above me, flutters vari-colored flags in the morning breeze. I invented every celebration, every victory, every drama. I tried to invent new flowers, new stars, new flesh, new tongues! It's the absolutism of youth that I find a bit grating at points (and an awful lot of talk about parents), but that's just jealousy on my part. You can afford to be a walking, vomiting, ocean-guzzling behemoth at that age because you're going to live forever. And then one day you wake up and your fucking coccyx hurts. Seriously, how the hell does that even happen?!?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    Surely it must be - never has a poet left so many wondering so much, over so few words ... 4 1/2 a Preface … by Patti Smith. More an imaginative appreciation. (view spoiler)[In his confessional masterpiece, A Season in Hell, Arthur Rimbaud imparts the formula for the alchemical transformation of the soul, even as he simultaneously acknowledges the futility of acting upon it. No one could exact a more brutal analysis of this sublime scrap of illuminated consciousness than the poet himself. In his o Surely it must be - never has a poet left so many wondering so much, over so few words ... 4 1/2 a Preface … by Patti Smith. More an imaginative appreciation. (view spoiler)[In his confessional masterpiece, A Season in Hell, Arthur Rimbaud imparts the formula for the alchemical transformation of the soul, even as he simultaneously acknowledges the futility of acting upon it. No one could exact a more brutal analysis of this sublime scrap of illuminated consciousness than the poet himself. In his own private Gethsemane he is at once savior and betrayer, extending one hand as he slyly withdraws the other. On sheets of gold he spews of the loathsome sheets where he has lain with the fallen angel, Verlaine. He beholds his ancestors; he berates his ancestors. Grappling with the civil war of his personality, he prays bitterly to be good but he is not able. He ridicules his inventiveness, his weariness, his flowering heart. But believe it! It is not a pose, but a confusion. He is nineteen years old and within his cosmology excrement and roses equally offend. As he rolls in piss and thorns he consciously offends himself. He is Hamlet, tossing off dazzling soliloquies as if they were but disgruntled mumblings. To be spent, wrung out, is his dream. And how shall he be spent? Rimbaud knows too well the unfortunate answer. The alchemist must descend within himself, a journey more terrifying than trudging the White Pass or scaling the immense, tragic cliffs of Bhutan. Only by navigating the chaos of his being can he initiate the process of mapping out this small unholy guide. Vows erupt! He shudders as he writes, generating a superb and nasty shedding of skins. Engulfed by a wave of nothingness, he is like an old man who can no longer distinguish tears from laughter. He speaks of abandoning everything, and eventually does, in concert with those who come clean, turn their backs, then burn their poems, to be purified in the flames of their folly. Ignited by the fireworks of his despair, he exhausts us with beauty, but is also the flayed youth, a hyena etc. He articulates the battlements of the besieged soul. What he fears most is to be judged a fraud by God. A Season in Hell brought him nothing but misery. In misery's company you will find him, tramping the luminous sewer of his own circulatory system with all his marvelous contradictions intact. His hell distilled – rubies strewn in hard places – he arrives, with his infernal stump, at heaven's gate bowed. Think of me he cries – and we must – immersing ourselves, as his compassionate translator Louise Varese did, in an infinite affair. We pray for him, offering love. History praises him, offering laurels. Mercy sings of him, offering absolution. Arthur Rimbaud, in his long suffering, has at last attained God's favor. (hide spoiler)] Whew! Over the top, but it captures the crazed style, the obscene rantings, the words themselves of this nineteen-year old modern (hyper-modern?!) performance in 1873. The book self-published, soon after burned, having a first life of only a few months, the young iconoclast never to write poetry again. He'd already passed his life's mid-point. boring stuff (view spoiler)[The slim volume pictured includes a chronology based on Enid Starkie's definitive biography of Rimbaud. Born 1854, died 1891. Such interesting events as Rimbaud's running off to Paris to join the Commune in 1871, at the age of 17. For additional info on Rimbaud's life, see my review of Disaster Was My God, Bruce Duffy's amazing post-modern fictionalized biography of Rimbaud, undoubtedly a more exciting read than any mere biography. (Here) (hide spoiler)] poetry The woman mentioned in Smith's preface, Louis Verese, is indeed the translator for this edition. If you read French, you can assess her translations yourself - the book has the French facing the English throughout. (view spoiler)[ the first poem A SEASON IN HELL Once, if I remember well, my life was a feast where all hearts opened and all wines flowed. One evening I seated Beauty on my knees. And I found her bitter. And I cursed her. I armed myself against justice. I fled. O Witches, O Misery, O Hate, to you has my treasure been entrusted! I contrived to purge my mind of all human hope. On all joy, to strangle it, I pounced with the stealth of a wild beast. I called to the executioners that I might gnaw their rifle-butts while dying. I called to the plagues to smother me in blood, in sand. Misfortune was my God. I laid myself down in the mud. I dried myself in the air of crime. I played sly tricks on madness. And spring brought me the idiot's frightful laughter. Now, only recently, being on the point of giving my last squawk, I thought of looking for the key to the ancient feast where I might find my appetite again. Charity is that key. – This inspiration proves that I have dreamed! "You will always be a hyena…" etc., protests the devil who crowned me with such pleasant poppies. "Attain death with all your appetites, your selfishness and all the capital sins!" Ah! I'm fed up: - But, dear Satan, a less fiery eye I beg you! And while awaiting a few small infamies in arrears, you who love the absence of the instructive or descriptive faculty in a writer, for you let me tear out these few, hideous pages from my notebook of one of the damned. miscellaneous passages and phrases. Let's hear now a hell-mate's confession: "O heavenly Bridegroom, my Lord, do not reject the confession of the saddest of your handmaidens. I am lost. I am drunk. I am unclean. What a life!... " [p.35] …Never a man had such a wish. I realized, - without any fear of him, - that he could be a serious danger to society. Perhaps he has some secrets for changing life? No, I would say to myself he is only looking for them. In short, his charity is bewitched, and I, its prisoner… [p. 41] Ah! That life of my childhood, the highroad in all weathers, supernaturally sober, more disinterested than the best of beggars, proud to have neither country, nor friends, how stupid it was! And I see it only now! - I was right to despise those poor fellows who would never miss the chance of a caress, parasites of the cleanliness and health of our women, now that they are so little in accord with us. [p. 69] … You who declare that beasts sob in their grief, that the sick despair, that the dead have bad dreams, try to relate my fall and my sleep. As for me, I can no more explain myself that the beggar with his endless Paters and Ave Marias. I can no longer speak! However, I have finished, I think, the tale of my hell today. It was really hell; the old hell, the one whose doors were opened by the son of man. [p. 81] Yes, the new hour is at least very severe. For I can say that victory is won: the gnashing of teeth, the hissings of fire, the pestilential sighs are abating. All the noisome memories are fading. My last regrets take to their heels, - envy of beggars, brigands, of death's friends, of the backward of all kinds. O damned ones, what if I avenged myself! One must be absolutely modern. No hymns! Hold the ground gained. Arduous night! The dried blood smokes on my face, and I have nothing behind me but that horrible bush! … Spiritual combat is as brutal as the battle of men: but the vision of justice is the pleasure of God alone. [p. 87] the beginning of Le Bateau Ivre, "The Drunken Boat", written in 1871. The first person speaker is, yes, the boat itself. As I came down the impassable Rivers, I felt no more the bargemen's guiding hands, Targets for yelling red-skins they were nailed Naked to poles. What did I care for any crews, Carriers of English cotton or of Flemish grain! Bargemen and all that hubbub left behind, The waters let me go my own free way. In the furious lashing of the tides, Emptier than children's minds, I through that winter Ran! And great peninsulas unmoored Never knew more triumphant uproar than I knew. The tempest blessed my waking on the sea. Light as a cork I danced upon the waves, Eternal rollers of the deep sunk dead, Nor missed at night the lanterns' idiot eyes! [p. 93] it continues for 21 more stanzas (hide spoiler)] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Previous review: Tom Paine Random review: Doctor Copernicus Banville Next review: The Tragedy of Julius Caesar Previous library review: The Misanthrope Next library review: The Fall

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    What young boy exists who doesn't want to be Rimbaud. The Grand daddy or rock n' roll - and modern literature. A combination of Peter Pan and a thug, Rimbaud wrote beautifully as well as being sharp as a broken blade. "A Season In Hell" indeed. May I wonder in that neighborhood for a long time. What young boy exists who doesn't want to be Rimbaud. The Grand daddy or rock n' roll - and modern literature. A combination of Peter Pan and a thug, Rimbaud wrote beautifully as well as being sharp as a broken blade. "A Season In Hell" indeed. May I wonder in that neighborhood for a long time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Lentz

    After reading his Illuminations, I decided that I definitely wanted to encounter more of Arthur Rimbaud. I was intrigued by his creative proposition that in order to become engaged with existence the poet must place himself at variance with life. This positioning of the poet in surging counter-subjectivity to life is somewhat Hegelian in that it induces not only a creative synthesis but suffering as its essential Muse. While A Season in Hell is mature Rimbaud toward the end of his life, the Drun After reading his Illuminations, I decided that I definitely wanted to encounter more of Arthur Rimbaud. I was intrigued by his creative proposition that in order to become engaged with existence the poet must place himself at variance with life. This positioning of the poet in surging counter-subjectivity to life is somewhat Hegelian in that it induces not only a creative synthesis but suffering as its essential Muse. While A Season in Hell is mature Rimbaud toward the end of his life, the Drunken Boat is clearly his finest individual poem. One discovers a symbolic clarity in this single work that summarizes his amazing thirst for life and the human condition in a brief poem of only 25 stanzas. This really is a magnificent work reminiscent of Blake with a style and a passion that transformed his genre and left him immortal. I earnestly invite you to read this telling, visually rich and important work by a major poet of immense talent. It will broaden the palette through which you perceive the brush strokes and colors of your life's impressions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I try to be neither overly awed by nor blithely dismissive of classics. That is to say, I reserve the right to my own impressions, but context sometimes suggests that you might be missing something. Clearly, I might be missing something here. My relative ignorance of Rimbaud’s life probably doesn’t help. I read these poems twice, but didn’t go over them with a fine-tooth comb. If I were in a poetry class with a good professor, and we broke it all down line-by-line, I imagine I’d get more out of t I try to be neither overly awed by nor blithely dismissive of classics. That is to say, I reserve the right to my own impressions, but context sometimes suggests that you might be missing something. Clearly, I might be missing something here. My relative ignorance of Rimbaud’s life probably doesn’t help. I read these poems twice, but didn’t go over them with a fine-tooth comb. If I were in a poetry class with a good professor, and we broke it all down line-by-line, I imagine I’d get more out of the experience. Of course there are memorable lines, occasionally striking images: …as avaricious as the sea; …the drunken fly in the inn’s privy…; a storm came chasing the sky away. There’s a general sense that the material world is not what it appears, that there are mysteries we can only begin to perceive: It seemed to me that for every creature several other lives were due…With several men I have spoken aloud with a moment of one of their other lives… A couple of the stanzas I find most beautiful are very simple: No more tomorrows, Embers of satin, Your ardor is now Your duty only. It is recovered! What? Eternity. It is the sea Mixed with the sun. In general, however, the language doesn’t inspire me to Talmudic study. By the end, we seem to be leaving hell: And, in the dawn, armed with an ardent patience, we shall enter magnificent cities. That’s a nice image, but it also showcases the melodramatic, pseudo-prophetic tone that began to wear on me. Not that I can really blame a teenager for writing that way. Christ, let’s look at some of my teenage poetry. Actually, let’s not. I have similar feelings about The Drunken Boat. I found myself shrugging my shoulders at a lot of it, but there are striking, memorable moments. In the furious lashings of the tides, Emptier than children’s minds, I through that winter Ran! And great peninsulas unmoored Never knew more triumphant uproar than I knew. And: I’ve seen the low sun, fearful with mystic signs, Lightning with far flung violet arms, Like actors in an ancient tragedy, The fluted waters shivering far away.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    Rereading Rimbaud's Une Saison En Enfer after probably 25 years: At first it was an experiment. I wrote silences, I wrote the night. I recorded the inexpressible. I fixed frenzies in their flight. I was rather awestruck by the Blakean imagery and eschatological defiance. This a potent portent for the rereading project. Rimbaud the subaltern becomes a human trafficker and arms dealer. Rereading Rimbaud's Une Saison En Enfer after probably 25 years: At first it was an experiment. I wrote silences, I wrote the night. I recorded the inexpressible. I fixed frenzies in their flight. I was rather awestruck by the Blakean imagery and eschatological defiance. This a potent portent for the rereading project. Rimbaud the subaltern becomes a human trafficker and arms dealer.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I understand, and not knowing how to express myself without pagan words, I’d rather remain silent. I am not going to lie to you. This is definitely not the kind of book I would randomly read. To be quite honest, I wasn’t even aware of its existence until I found myself reading Patti Smith’s M Train and watching Ed Harris’ Pollock in the very same week. The title, A Season in Hell, was what caught my attention at first; then there was Patti Smith’s dedication to the author and the quote Lee Krasne I understand, and not knowing how to express myself without pagan words, I’d rather remain silent. I am not going to lie to you. This is definitely not the kind of book I would randomly read. To be quite honest, I wasn’t even aware of its existence until I found myself reading Patti Smith’s M Train and watching Ed Harris’ Pollock in the very same week. The title, A Season in Hell, was what caught my attention at first; then there was Patti Smith’s dedication to the author and the quote Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden), Pollock’s wife, had on her wall. This is definitely the kind of book that scares me; and yet I found myself buying a copy and reading it. To whom shall I hire myself out? What beast should I adore? What holy image is attacked? What hearts shall I break? What lies should I uphold? In what blood tread? Rimbaud’s writing feels… restless. At first there seems to be a sort of chaos, like he has happened upon a world that sees contradictions as twins in the same womb, sharing one beating heart, instead of distant cousins. He seems to be drowning in an ocean of everything and nothing. You can almost hear his breathlessness, which seems tainted not by wonder, awe, but by adrenalin. As someone who used to write things, I think I recognize the conflict. I would say that writing poetry is not something someone does lightly. Once you put something down, it truly feels like there’s no turning back, no deleting. What’s done is done. With Rimbaud, it’s as if he’s going through some sort of catharsis, like he has decided to write everything… and then be done with it for life. It’s fascinating how he seems to have gone through all this process before even reaching the age of twenty. And his writing! It’s quite extraordinary. He made it twenty times, that lovers’ promise. It was as vain as when I said to him: ‘I understand you’. I am sure I will have to revisit this book later on. First, though, I feel like I need to read more about the author and perhaps some of his other work as well.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    initially i wrote this off as the drunken masturbatory ramblings of a privileged white boy in france. which it is. but once i shook off my distaste for that particular trope, i kinda started liking his bad-ass shtick. i really hated the intro although it's somewhat a necessity- some dude blathers on in a horribly biased way about rimbaud for like 15 pages. he fails to directly acknowledge hardships, queerness, blablablablabla, mostly trying to figure out how to get the whole of his body into rim initially i wrote this off as the drunken masturbatory ramblings of a privileged white boy in france. which it is. but once i shook off my distaste for that particular trope, i kinda started liking his bad-ass shtick. i really hated the intro although it's somewhat a necessity- some dude blathers on in a horribly biased way about rimbaud for like 15 pages. he fails to directly acknowledge hardships, queerness, blablablablabla, mostly trying to figure out how to get the whole of his body into rimbaud's ass. i definitely would have appreciated a short biography that seemed a little more reflexive and unslanted. the film total eclipse kinda helped correct some ideas i had about rimbaud. the movie itself is pretty mediocre, but worth it if you want to know more. it reads kinda like a novel (a season in hell more than the drunken boat, one better than the other, respectively). rimbaud somehow matures by the end of a season in hell- all 17 years of him or whatever. the grumpiness i had from talk of wallowing in his own crapulence and fastuous self pity waned towards the end and i almost liked the guy. parts were almost kinda beautiful. almost kinda touched ya... fucking poetry. this shit is fucking french as all hell, too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Frankie

    I really enjoyed Illuminations but not so much this one, perhaps for its prose aspect. Patti Smith's foreword is fun to read, though rather excessive in style and vulgarity. Keeping Rimbaud's amazing literary story in mind, you can understand the "farewell message" quality. His strongest themes of sacrilegious denial and mourning for his lost love for Verlaine go hand in hand. Some of his imagery is brilliant, amazingly modern for its time, and yet some is immature and unfocused. He was 19 when I really enjoyed Illuminations but not so much this one, perhaps for its prose aspect. Patti Smith's foreword is fun to read, though rather excessive in style and vulgarity. Keeping Rimbaud's amazing literary story in mind, you can understand the "farewell message" quality. His strongest themes of sacrilegious denial and mourning for his lost love for Verlaine go hand in hand. Some of his imagery is brilliant, amazingly modern for its time, and yet some is immature and unfocused. He was 19 when he wrote this and his writing career nearly finished. Already, on page 11, he proves himself the first of modernists, when he questions the progress of modernity itself. "Oh! Science! Everything has been revised. For the body and for the soul, – the viaticum, – there are medicine and philosophy, – old wives' remedies and popular songs rearranged." And later, on page 73, "Is it not because we cultivate fog! … And drunkenness! and tobacco! and ignorance! … Why a modern world if such poisons are invented[?]!" Homosexuality is an underlying theme, though understandably subdued enough to slip through 18th century publishing. He compares the societal ban on his homosexuality to the hypocrisy of holding African tribesmen to European colonist law. He cites Joan of Arc and her denial of obeying a religion that wasn't hers. He concludes the work, particularly in "Lightning Flash", with the theme of human labor, industrialization and productivity. He applies the same philosophy as with most of his societal theories – how can progress reward the lazy? This subject seems apt to end on, as his move to a non-literary career follows. I really enjoyed "The Drunken Boat", also included in this edition, a sort of Melville-esque travel journal in verse. As in passages of Illuminations, the cadence and meter are translated well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Two of my favorite works by Arthur Rimbaud. I have read the complete works several times and always enjoy reading new translations of Rimbaud. This one has a marvelous introduction (which really illustrates where Rimbaud was at during the period of his life when he wrote "Une Saison en Enfer" -- particularly concerning his tumultuous relationship with Paul Verlaine) and it has some strengths in terms of language choices and clarity. The opening lines of "A Season in Hell" dance memorably across Two of my favorite works by Arthur Rimbaud. I have read the complete works several times and always enjoy reading new translations of Rimbaud. This one has a marvelous introduction (which really illustrates where Rimbaud was at during the period of his life when he wrote "Une Saison en Enfer" -- particularly concerning his tumultuous relationship with Paul Verlaine) and it has some strengths in terms of language choices and clarity. The opening lines of "A Season in Hell" dance memorably across my mind and are, to me, some of the finest opening lines in any work. Although I enjoy the translations by Wallace Fowlie and Wyatt Mason better than Louise Varese's, her translation is still very beautiful: "Once, if I remember well, my life was a feast where all hearts opened and all wines flowed." I prefer "if my memory serves me well" over "if I remember well." My other complaint is that "l'ennui" was translated here as "boredom" (which it often is), though I feel ennui is something more intense than boredom, something more encompassing and debilitating, but this may be owed to my readings of Baudelaire. Rimbaud is a poet that I enjoy revisiting often. I first read his works four years ago ("if MY memory serves me well")and have read him at least once a year since. His use of language is so masterful and original, taking the reader on a magical mind-trip that one does not quickly forget; it is very easy to get lost in the images he paints with his words ("I thought of us as two good children, free to wander in the Paradise of sadness"; "It is recovered!/What? Eternity./It is the sea/Mixed with the sun" -- these are just two examples). On this last (re)reading of Rimbaud I really picked out the biographical elements in the work, and could really sympathize with his despairs throughout "A Season in Hell." I also enjoyed the bibliography of works in English by (translations) and about Rimbaud, and would like to read some of these in the near future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Nicholson

    The Drunken Boat is written from the viewpoint of a sunk sad ship thats led a exciting life.This poem protests the law of the market, slavery, war, etc. It is visionary.It has gorgeous imagery such as "the northern lights rising like a kiss to the sea" and "swells that batter like terrified cattle". Rimbaud a child prodigy ran away from home as a teen and lived on the streets including a experimental commune.When the commune was forced closed by elite French soldiers , these soldiers gangbanged Rimba The Drunken Boat is written from the viewpoint of a sunk sad ship thats led a exciting life.This poem protests the law of the market, slavery, war, etc. It is visionary.It has gorgeous imagery such as "the northern lights rising like a kiss to the sea" and "swells that batter like terrified cattle". Rimbaud a child prodigy ran away from home as a teen and lived on the streets including a experimental commune.When the commune was forced closed by elite French soldiers , these soldiers gangbanged Rimbaud. Arthur Rimbaud then became a lover to Paul Verlaine.Finally disillusioned he quit literature and had adventures in Africa.The Drunken Boat is my favorite poem by Rimbaud.I also like quotes by him like "Loves got to be reinvented" and "I saw the hell of women ... I shall be free to exspress it in one body and one soul". Rimbaud got me intrested in synesthesia and the blending of the arts. I appreciate the music of Vincent Van Goghs brushstrokes because of Arthur Rimbaud.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Damion

    I read this book and was fired up. I read it in college after finding out about him from the beat writers i was reading. I remember being blown away by the young writer. This book actually made me want to be a writer. I identified with the author. I carried a notebook with me, and wrote in my notebook after work. I wrote many poems and drank and walked the streets of my city observing things and people like Rimbaud once did. the writing was very emotive yet clever and intellectual at the same time I read this book and was fired up. I read it in college after finding out about him from the beat writers i was reading. I remember being blown away by the young writer. This book actually made me want to be a writer. I identified with the author. I carried a notebook with me, and wrote in my notebook after work. I wrote many poems and drank and walked the streets of my city observing things and people like Rimbaud once did. the writing was very emotive yet clever and intellectual at the same time. Don't know now how it would read to me after almost twenty years? I just remember it impressed me then.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Satisfies and encourages every demand that it makes on its readers. There is plenty in this text for pretty much anybody who wants to dig it out. What seems like teenage bravado (and, let's be honest, is often read out of teenage bravado) transcends the stereotypical limitations of the obstreperously drunk, young, rebellious, gifted, wild and unruly seer at the wheel. Satisfies and encourages every demand that it makes on its readers. There is plenty in this text for pretty much anybody who wants to dig it out. What seems like teenage bravado (and, let's be honest, is often read out of teenage bravado) transcends the stereotypical limitations of the obstreperously drunk, young, rebellious, gifted, wild and unruly seer at the wheel.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    I was inspired by goodreader, Brandon Rule, to revisit this classic from my teenage-dom. I concur with him: 10,000 stars. I read this poem nearly nightly for several years whilst in high school, and its phrases and sentiments remain deeply imprinted, deeply resonant, and deeply familiar still, some 20 years later.

  18. 4 out of 5

    B. Rule

    Ten thousand stars. Still one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read and a wild ride into oblivion and back. It never gets old. Ten thousand stars. Still one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read and a wild ride into oblivion and back. It never gets old.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    Pure, raw poetry.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Not pleased when I read in the biography that Rimbaud was involved in gun-running and slave-trading. Then I got to the poems, and I don't care what Van Morrison and other rock stars say, I do not find these lines worth my time. Not pleased when I read in the biography that Rimbaud was involved in gun-running and slave-trading. Then I got to the poems, and I don't care what Van Morrison and other rock stars say, I do not find these lines worth my time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Lorraine

    What can i say about Arthur Rimbaud as a writer? He was eighteen when he wrote this epic poem. He almost never wrote again afterwards. A Season in Hell is an epic poem married with a fanstastic short poem called The Drunken Boat. The mass of this review will be of A Season in Hell. As a begining writer I set it in my mind to write poems more than verse. I went to the book store one day and went straight to the poetry section. I saw all kinds of great authors that i read in school. But as i glanc What can i say about Arthur Rimbaud as a writer? He was eighteen when he wrote this epic poem. He almost never wrote again afterwards. A Season in Hell is an epic poem married with a fanstastic short poem called The Drunken Boat. The mass of this review will be of A Season in Hell. As a begining writer I set it in my mind to write poems more than verse. I went to the book store one day and went straight to the poetry section. I saw all kinds of great authors that i read in school. But as i glanced at the picture on the cover of this book i felt a connection. i took it home and read it from cover to cover without putting it down. A Season in Hell has taught me write without holding back mine or other people's feelings. The fact that A Season in Hell is a collection of poems its easy to say that weren't all written at once. Poems allow you to feel the moment. Examine it till your sick to your stomach. That's what Rimbaud has done in A Season in Hell. He did it so well it put him off writing forever. The opening line is one of my favorites. It suggest that Rimbaud has run away from a life that once he found to be glorius then one day it wasn't so he fled. At 18 i felt all these things but at 18 i was scratching the surface of what i could do as a writer. Rimbaud wrote a classic that i think will be in the hands of misunderstood youths for many years to come.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This work would be so cheapened by only dispensing the well-worn cliché that Arthur Rimbaud represents the 'ultimate, quintessential rebellious teenager', even if it is 100%, absolutely true. He was angry, he was wild, and he ingested a steady diet of drugs—yes. But he also helped give birth to what one might call 'modern' poetry. Frankly, his writing is not only astoundingly blasphemous, but lush with furious anger, thankfulness, and deep regrets. Naturally, like many that came before me, I don't This work would be so cheapened by only dispensing the well-worn cliché that Arthur Rimbaud represents the 'ultimate, quintessential rebellious teenager', even if it is 100%, absolutely true. He was angry, he was wild, and he ingested a steady diet of drugs—yes. But he also helped give birth to what one might call 'modern' poetry. Frankly, his writing is not only astoundingly blasphemous, but lush with furious anger, thankfulness, and deep regrets. Naturally, like many that came before me, I don't believe I have anything terribly worthwhile to say, other than that his writing is electric, his beautiful fires are sincere, and his fascinating audaciousness seems to know no bounds. But put even more succinctly: he has produced a harsh, strange, and violently enthralling classic that demands to be read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    4 1/2 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Davis

    Rimbaud is the French poet version of the Russian author Dostoyevsky. Existential, wants to do good, feel good, but cannot. We are human, we try, we fail.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tom Walsh

    Fabulous visions of a very angry young man. Even in translation the words flow with the rhythm of the sea and wash over the reader evoking powerful emotions. Very rewarding read for angry times.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Numidica

    Having never read Rimbaud, I thought I would give this slim volume a try. The relationship between Rimbaud and Verlaine is famous in literary circles, and it was scandalous in the Victorian era; Rimbaud's poetry is seen as a very early statement of identity from a gay poet. That said, in order to understand Une Saison en Enfer, or The Drunken Boat, one must know more than a little about Rimbaud's tumultuous affair with Verlaine; otherwise, the average reader will simply be puzzled and frustrated Having never read Rimbaud, I thought I would give this slim volume a try. The relationship between Rimbaud and Verlaine is famous in literary circles, and it was scandalous in the Victorian era; Rimbaud's poetry is seen as a very early statement of identity from a gay poet. That said, in order to understand Une Saison en Enfer, or The Drunken Boat, one must know more than a little about Rimbaud's tumultuous affair with Verlaine; otherwise, the average reader will simply be puzzled and frustrated by the poems, and indeed, even if you have read interpretations and summaries, the poems are difficult to follow. Honestly, for most people, me included, study of Rimbaud's works is better suited to a college class on French literature in which one relates the verses to Rimbaud's life and experiences and explores the significance of the symbols in the verses. Certainly there is nothing resembling a plot or story line in these poems; it is not at all like reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. That said, there are quite a few quotable lines, and it is a short read unless one plans to really study the poems, which, again, is probably how these are best read, with a professor to help interpret the lines.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    My first Rimbaud, and I really, really liked it. Even loved parts! I’ve a feeling that I’ll rate it even higher after a reread or two, but I’ll leave it a 4 star rating for now.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Killer_Wolf

    Is The Drunken Boat the greatest poem ever written? Probably! And since then I’ve been bathing in the Poem Of star-infused and milky Sea,

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I'm with Artie. I'm with Artie.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Arcadia

    Rimbaud, darling, dearest Rimbaud. "A Season in Hell" was his letter of resignation. He had no hope, and he had decided to quit. His hopes had lied with art and love and they had let him down. Rimbaud saw himself as a visionary, but he had been failed by his mortality, by Christianity, by France. Rimbaud wished to trespass onto a new level of consciousness, and instead of trying again, he quits. This poem is written in the present tense, he wrote it whilst he was suffering this excommunication o Rimbaud, darling, dearest Rimbaud. "A Season in Hell" was his letter of resignation. He had no hope, and he had decided to quit. His hopes had lied with art and love and they had let him down. Rimbaud saw himself as a visionary, but he had been failed by his mortality, by Christianity, by France. Rimbaud wished to trespass onto a new level of consciousness, and instead of trying again, he quits. This poem is written in the present tense, he wrote it whilst he was suffering this excommunication of the soul and body. And he wrote it when he was 18. He quit poetry when he was 19. His love affair with poet Paul Verlain turns sour. Rimbaud locks himself at home and in a frenzy of anguish and pain writes "A Season in Hell". Public scandal with Verlain belittles Rimbaud's work. And Rimbaud burns all his manuscripts, letters and his remaining author's copies of "Une Saison en Enfer". That was the end of his literary career at the age of 19. He probably never wrote poetry again. Rimbaud's rebellion against the bigoted, false, pretentious bourgeois life he knew burst in obscenities and blasphemies in his poetry, present in "A Season in Hell", as after all, there is nothing Rimbaud hated more than mediocrity. There is an abundance of visceral imagery, as Patti Smith eloquently describes it: "He is nineteen years old and within his cosmology, excrement and roses equally offend". Rimbaud opens this confessional spilling of guts with "One evening I seated Beauty on my knees. And I found her bitter. And I cursed her." He is not marvelled by art anymore. He has tried it and found it distasteful, unfulfilling and unworthy. With disdain Rimbaud declares "La vie est la farce à mener par tous (Life is the farce we all have to lead)."With bitterness he declares "La morale est la faiblesse de la cervelle (Morality is the weakness of the brain)." Now, "The Drunken Boat" is a very lyrical poem, with beautiful imagery such as "Slow kisses on the eyelids of the sea" or "giant serpents vermin ride Drop with black perfumes from the twisted trees!". A contrast to the churning revolt of the first poem. A sad reflective swaying that brought Rimbaud's poetry to an end. Rimbaud, darling, dearest... you rebel.

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