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Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage Paperback – October 16, 2011
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-Nigel Barley, Times Literary Supplement, November 11, 2011
...a high-wire performance...the spectacle of reading someone write beautifully about something he finds, well, beautiful... The book shines a torch down the well of the nineteenth century and illuminates a little patch on an inner wall near the bottom... Microhistory? If it's the beginning of a trend I won't complain. Zadie Smith, Harper's Magazine, November 2011
...an intriguing new book about this wild-child poet that leaps boundaries.Jan McGirk, Huffington Post, September 29, 2011
From the Publisher
- Compelling images of the people and places thought to have been encountered by Rimbaud.
- An 8-page full colour insert showcasing the works of Rimbaud and artists of the era, as well as scenes of Java.
- Publisher : Didier Millet,Csi (October 16, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 136 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9814260827
- ISBN-13 : 978-9814260824
- Item Weight : 8.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.46 x 0.43 x 7.6 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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You've guessed it: though cognizant of Rimbaud's stature as a forerunner of the Surrealists, the amour fou he shared in his gilded teenage years with the much older, not-pretty-at-all Paul Verlaine, and his part in inspiring Frederick Ashton's bewitching ballet "Illuminations" (to the Benjamin Britten score), I am not one of James's thousands. But as Daniel Mendelsohn's delicious New Yorker review of Bruce Duffy's biography "Disaster Was My God" recently proved, reading about Rimbaud can be great fun. No less was to be expected from Jamie James, whom I edited (full disclosure!) at Connoisseur in the 1980s and whom I count today as a friend. In years past, I have delighted in his account of a visit with Jorge Luis Borges, his exposé of waste at PBS, and his book-length study on the topos of the music of the spheres. Since 1999, James has been living in Bali, whence occasional bulletins and curiosa flow, always in his trademark deadpan style, encyclopedically informed, tartly undeceived.
And so it is with "Rimbaud in Java," which James conceived as a novel but retrofitted to nonfiction, recognizing the futility of attempting to project himself into a mind as unfathomable as Rimbaud's. Instead he starts out by serving up just the facts, ma'am, slim pickens as they are. As Rimbaldians (ahem!) know, their idol sailed to Java as a fusilier in the Dutch Colonial Army. The fabled isle was the apogee of his life's journey. No sooner had he arrived, however, than he deserted, leaving a lacuna in his biography that James fills with an imaginative excursus on the Orient in the 19th-century European mind. Sprinklings of sex, pulp fiction, bogus science, and a cameo by Queen Victoria add spice to James's rijsftafel of guilty pleasures. In addition, there are wonderful images, many of them rare, from his private collection, plus generous helpings of Rimbaud's orphic poetry and prose as rendered in James's punctilious English. No, he has no translation for "baou," but then, neither has anyone else. James picks it up, pokes it, and turns it over, but in the end the vocable just sits there, on Rimbaud's page, as inexplicable as his thoughts and images.
Whether "Rimbaud in Java" will win Rimbaud new readers, as JAmes says he hopes, is anybody's guess. I felt no such exploratory urge, honestly. On the other hand, the book may very well inspire readers to dig deeper into the Jamie James bibliography. Next on my list: "The Snake Charmer: A Life and Death in Pursuit of Knowledge."
The author dwelt on small minor details, such as the meaning of the word Baou and where Rimbaud would have learned it.
The only upside - he expose me to a rather interesting, flamboyant and exotic character in Rimbaud himself.
Always a delight, never boring, without condescension, he is a treasure.
Top reviews from other countries
Short & sweet volume that should please any Rimbaud admirer.