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Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters Paperback – January 1, 1966


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (1966)
  • Language: English, French
  • ISBN-10: 0226719731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226719733
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Melinda Harrison on May 27, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really don't understand any of the negative reviews on this page. Fowlie's translations are considered some of the best, even by scholars, and yes, this is the version that has inspired many other artists, actors, musicians, poets, and so forth. Fowlie's introduction is fitting and his inclusion of selected letters gives us an insightful look into the very language of Rimbaud.
This is why I wanted to learn French. This keeps me learning French, and Rimbauds poems are absolutely stunning. If you want a good introduction to Rimbaud, select this volume of translations and then read Enid Starkie's wonderful biography of Rimbaud. Keep in mind this simple philosophy: the search for truth, history, and art is sometimes elusive and beyond our grasp. Rimbaud, to a certain extent, is always going to be elusive to the modern reader, and certainly personal and controversial for many reasons. However don't let this elusiveness stop you from buying this wonderful book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Z. Liu on August 12, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the Penguin and Oxford Classics editions claim to be complete, they are not. This edition has several later works that those other editions simply do not include.
The literal translation provided does not attempt to be its own art, which is often a translator's greatest virtue. It serves best as a set of cribs for someone who has some French, but whose French isn't perfect.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "botatoe" on April 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Wallace Fowlie's translation of Rimbaud's complete poeticworks, together with a selection of Rimbaud's letters, provides themost complete and reliable English translation of Rimbaud's poetry and a useful companion to the many books on Rimbaud's life. While Fowlie's translations are workmanlike and somewhat unimaginative, they are generally faithful to the original French text. Moreover, because the original French version and the English translation are on facing pages, the reader can easily compare Fowlie's translation with the reader's own understanding and interpretation of the French text. In this respect, the book is particularly useful if you have some French fluency.
All translations are, by their nature, inauthentic since there is never a perfect correspondence between the resonant images and meanings of the original language and the new language into which a text is translated. Translation is, as one critic has said, "like kissing someone through a veil"; the sensations (meanings) of the original are occluded by the translative process. Recognizing this inevitable deficiency, all that a reader can ask is that a translation approximate, as closely as possible, the linguistic meaning of the original. Fowlie has achieved this, more so than many other translators of Rimbaud, who have corrupted the integrity of Rimbaud's original meanings by their own creative and symbolistic interpretive renderings.
Fowlie also has provided solid translations of Rimbaud's important letters, particularly the letters of May, 1871, to George Izambard and Paul Demeny which articulate Rimbaud's precocious and iconoclastic aesthetic view of the role of the poet. If the book has any real shortcoming, it is the truncated and relatively unintersting biographical section and a lack of detailed notes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gently Feral on August 18, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ... found Fowlie's over-literal translations ugly and lame. But I think this may be deliberate. The unbeautifulness of the translations forces you back to the exquisite French original. It's a joy to have these poems as Rimbaud wrote them, and a bilingual edition is a must for the non-French-reader. If you want a beautiful English translation, I recommend reading Paul Schmidt's in conjunction with this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
In these very good & reliable translations on the great boy genius whose life & art inspired numerous die hard rebels & wannabes charts & maps in ascending order the perverse,childish,compassionate,brilliant & inimitable mind of this life-changing & unforgettable phenomenon.To a person with the depth that matches these situation & visionary poems one can undeniably admit that this was an extremely mature young man who was truly inspired & who for a moment in the greatest period of his inspiring & enviable life truly transcended the level that he lived in.A dissapointment are the erotic poems that have been unforgivably censored;considering that this book was published after the trial of "Tropic Of Cancer" gets one frustratingly wondering.And the translator could have expanded more in his introduction.The writing is remarkably consistent all throughout,with some poems passing as fine but when one gets to the works of vision & soul spilling narratives of structural dislocation,innovation & greatness have never been more positionally placed for an elevative reading experience which carries on endlessly afterwards.A book which shows definitive proof of one born & destined for greatness.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By demomo on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is very complete, but the english translations are pretty bad, useful if you are reading in french and forget some of the words. If you are going to read Rimbaud in english, get the Louise Varese (new directions) editions instead.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By arles@worldnet.att.net on September 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Wallace Fowlie first published this book in 1966 and his English translation is quite biased even for 1966. His sanitized editorial of the original French poetry is sad. You can pick up a French dictionary and perform a similar translation without knowing any French. He has lost all the imagery and beauty of the original work. It looks like the work of a student in a first-year French class.
Fowlies' biographical sketch of Rimbaud in the Introduction is incomplete. He skims over Rimbaud's homosexuality and his relationship with Verlaine as "troubled, and at times tragic...". Hardly a thorough and accurate reflection of Rimbaud during his most prolific period. Maybe Fowlie's overly cautious attempt to not offend his readers led him to filter out the imagery in his attempted English translation.
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