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Illuminations (New Directions Paperbook, No. 56) (English and French Edition) Paperback – January 17, 1957

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Illuminations (New Directions Paperbook, No. 56) (English and French Edition) + A Season in Hell & The Drunken Boat (Second Edition) (New Directions Paperbook) + The Flowers of Evil (Oxford World's Classics) (English and French Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Ashbery has gifted us with an exquisite, untainted translation of Rimbaud; a transmission as pure as a winged dove driven by snow.” — Patti Smith

Language Notes

Text: French, English --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperbook, No. 56
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (January 17, 1957)
  • Language: English, French
  • ISBN-10: 0811201848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201841
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Philip Welsh on April 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Though her translations are flawed and somewhat dated, Louise Varese still has not been topped as a the bringer-into-English of lil' Arther R.'s thorny prose-poems. Her versions remain closer in spirit to the originals than any of the later translations, most of which (if you'll pardon my French) suck, from the bland lazy word-for-word of the Penguin Classics edition, to the innumerable "interpreters" (Paul Schmidt and his shameless ilk) who make of his poems what they will (sometimes to further lengths than JR Ullman did with "The Day On Fire") and then call their work "translations." Anyway, if you know Rimbaud I'm probably preaching to the converted, and if you don't, and don't read French, the two New Directions/Varese translations are probably the best place to start, along with Pierre Petitfils' user-friendly biography.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "lexo-2" on December 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
For me, modern poetry is Rimbaud. Sometimes I think modern writing in general is Rimbaud, but usually only after a few drinks. In any case, this is one of two books that are essential for anyone interested; Louise Varese (wife of composer Edgard) was one of the first and is still the best English translator that Rimbaud has ever had; her versions are as faithful as possible, but have a swing and an energy (even in these prose poems) that nobody else has reached. A mighty book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wordsworth on May 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The mark of an extraordinary writer to me has always had something to do with whether the writer's genre was enhanced by the writer. This is a tall order, I know, but the very best writers change the way that their genre is perceived. Rimbaud's prose poems challenged the traditonal style of the Romantics who wrote before him. He brought a sharp, new incandescence, a flaring literary reality, a breakthrough perception to poetry expressed by his point of view. His stirring soul is seared by his epiphanies expressed in simple, clean and gleaming imagery. At times, he reminded me of Blake and Yeats. But his poetry is so original and personal and inventive that the genre metamorphosed by his unique literary perspective. Rimbaud believed that the poet must deliberately become an antagonist and work to place one's sensibilities into constant upheaveal in order to write poetry that is truly revelatory. His life was lived to the hilt as he traveled worldwide with Paul Verlaine and traded adventure incessantly. His destitution, lust for life and piquant sensibilities abound in the light and shadow of his poetry. The genre is indebted to the invention, passion and beauty expressed by this tormented soul who simply couldn't get enough of life.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anthony E. Pusatory on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
After reading the poetry of Rimbaud, especially any of the Illuminations, it's hard to forget. If the role of the poet truly is to find something new, then Rimbaud surpasses anyone's imaginations. They are a torment. You can recognize immediately that they are creations of genius, but understanding what they truly are is nearly impossible - and that's what make the Illuminations great. A hundred readings of one of them will still leave you baffled, but will also leave you with the feeling that there is something out there that you don't know, that will explain everything. Rimbaud knows and he is laughing at us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Schizophrenic disassociation of life and mind make for a double tragedy in this young man's early death. A. Ginsberg longed for that ancient connection with the starry dynamo in the night; Rimbaud's brain shook with its deadly current and it made him feel quite odd among the emissaries of French bushwa normality, wearing buttoned coats, with eyes averted, as they stepped over the alter-ego of the boy, the poet in heat, in the gutter of the whorehose they were leaving.
The poems typify European longing for escape from the feudal history of their rigid societies, and make one think of a dog yowling at the moon while teathered to the rock that Sisyphus rolled up the hill.
A highly introverted exposay of French longing for the nobel savage, dramatically punctuated with images as consoling as the sun going nova, blazing in the eye of a mad dog.
Well worth the read if you want to see what being Hal Hartley's Henry Fool with real torment might be like.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Schizophrenic disassociation of life and mind make for a double tragedy in this young man's early death. A. Ginsberg longed for that ancient connection with the starry dynamo in the night; Rimbaud's brain shook with its deadly current and it made him feel quite odd among the emissaries of French bushwa normality, wearing buttoned coats, with eyes averted, as they stepped over the alter-ego of the boy, the poet in heat, in the gutter of the whorehose they were leaving.
The poems typify European longing for escape from the feudal history of their rigid societies, and make one think of a dog yowling at the moon while teathered to the rock that Sisyphus rolled up the hill.
A highly introverted exposay of French longing for the nobel savage, dramatically punctuated with images as consoling as the sun going nova, blazing in the eye of a mad dog.
Well worth the read if you want to see what being Hal Hartley's Henry Fool with real torment might be like.
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Illuminations (New Directions Paperbook, No. 56) (English and French Edition)
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