- Paperback: 103 pages
- Publisher: New Directions; 1st edition (October 5, 2011)
- Language: English, French
- ISBN-10: 9780811219488
- ISBN-13: 978-0811219488
- ASIN: 0811219488
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Season in Hell & The Drunken Boat (English and French Edition) 1st Edition
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Our greatest poet of revolt.--Albert Camus
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Every writer produces some haunting passages, some memorable phrases, but with Rimbaud they are strewn all over the pages like gems tumbled from a rifled chest. --Henry Miller"
At 16, 17, 18 Rimbaud transformed French poetry, completely modernized it. --Allen Ginsberg"
Our greatest poet of revolt. --Albert Camus"
About the Author
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 culture. Born Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud in Charleville, France, in 1854, Rimbaud’s family moved to Cours d’Orléans, when he was eight, where he began studying both Latin and Greek at the Pension Rossat. While he disliked school, Rimbaud excelled in his studies and, encouraged by a private tutor, tried his hand at poetry. Shortly thereafter, Rimbaud sent his work to the renowned symbolist poet Paul Verlaine and received in response a one-way ticket to Paris. By late September 1871, at the age of sixteen, Rimbaud had ignited with Verlaine one of the most notoriously turbulent affairs in the history of literature. Their relationship reached a boiling point in the summer of 1873, when Verlaine, frustrated by an increasingly distant Rimbaud, attacked his lover with a revolver in a drunken rage. The act sent Verlaine to prison and Rimbaud back to Charleville to finish his work on A Season in Hell. The following year, Rimbaud traveled to London with the poet Germain Nouveau, to compile and publish his transcendent Illuminations. It was to be Rimbaud’s final publication. By 1880, he would give up writing altogether for a more stable life as merchant in Yemen, where he stayed until a painful condition in his knee forced him back to France for treatment. In 1891, Rimbaud was misdiagnosed with a case of tuberculosis synovitis and advised to have his leg removed. Only after the amputation did doctors determine Rimbaud was, in fact, suffering from cancer. Rimbaud died in Marseille in November of 1891, at the age of 37. He is now considered a saint to symbolists and surrealists, and his body of works, which include Le bateau ivre (1871), Une Saison en Enfer (1873), and Les Illuminations (1873), have been widely recognized as a major influence on artists stretching from Pablo Picasso to Bob Dylan.
Patti Smith is a poet, performer, visual artist, and author of the National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids. She has twelve albums, has had numerous gallery shows, and continues to give concerts of her music and poetry. Her books include Early Work, The Coral Sea, Witt, Babel, Auguries of Innocence, Woolgathering, Land 250, Trois, and many others. She lives in New York.
Louise Varèse was an American biographer and translator of French. She is known for her translations of Stendhal, Proust, Georges Simenon, Julien Gracq, St.-John Perse and Arthur Rimbaud.
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Top customer reviews
"My Life was a Feast..." to the end of the page
with any other version. The Varese version simply best convey's the spirit of the poem.
When I read any other version, I actually find myself substituting Vareses' choices.
Varese was the wife of avant-garde composer, Edgard Varese, the first to write electronic music.
There is nothing electronic, or robotic, however, with regard to these translations.
They are as fresh, still, as freshly-cut flowers.
Robert Shapiro (author of "Les Six: The French Composers and Their Mentors Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie" published by Peter Owen in 2011)
What an amazing passionate book of prose and poetry! It's alive with pain, chaos and joy, screaming in anguish in streaming movement that is pouring out of the pages in utter agonizing derision and pain, flowing in surreal release of tension and expression.
The beginning of the book has a short bio and although short and concise, it vaguely talks about how scandalous Rimbaud and his companion Verlaine were in descriptive sexual analogy, refusing to use the word "sexual" and "lover."
Here was a young man who found a gay lover 20 years his senior and traveled in complete uncertainty and insecurity, a "Faustian Man," such as Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road.' Rimbaud was a man who lived in the present moment of risk, spontaneity and the faith to walk in uncertainly and courageously. And this of course brings true living over the comfort zone of existing, which accompanies such an artist with intense pain, guilt, creativity, joy, hurt, anguish and exploding passions. The pages reek with chaotic artistic surrealism.
This man was 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.
From page 23:
"Boredom is no longer my love. Rages, debauchery, madness, - I have known all their soarings and their disasters, - My whole burden is laid down. Let us contemplate undazed the extent of my innocence. I would no longer be capable of begging the solace of a bastinado. I don't fancy myself embarked on a wedding with Jesus Christ as father-in-law. I am not a prisoner of my reason. I said: God, I want freedom in salvation: how am I to seek it? Frivolous tastes have left me. No more need of devotion or of divine love. No more regrets for the age of render hearts. Each of us has his reason, scorn and charity; I reserve my place at the top of that angelic ladder of common sense. As for established happiness, domestic or not . . . no, I cannot. I am too dissipated, too weak. Life flourishing through toil, old platitude! As for me, my life is not heavy enough, it flies and floats far above action, that precious focus of the world. What an old maid I am getting to be, lacking the courage to be in love with death! If only God would grant me celestial, aerial calm, prayer, - like the ancient Saints, - Saints, giants! anchorites, artists such as are not wanted any more! Farce without end? My innocence would make me weep. Life is the farce we all have to lead."
However, Varese struggles a bit under the poetic demands of the Drunken Boat. For example:
I can no longer, bathed in your languors, O waves,
Obliterate the cotton carriers' wake,
Nor cross the pride of pennants and of flags,
Nor swim past prison hulk's hateful eyes!
>> But trust me, for the superb quality of translation in A Season in Hell, this book's well worth the price.