Rimbaud Complete by Arthur Rimbaud
(Modern Library)

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Enduring icon of creativity, authenticity, and rebellion, and the subject of numerous new biographies, Arthur Rimbaud is one of the most repeatedly scrutinized literary figures of the last half-century. Yet almost thirty years have elapsed without a major new translation of his writings. Remedying this state of affairs is Rimbaud Complete, the first and only truly complete edition of Rimbaud’s work in English, translated, edited, and introduced by Wyatt Mason.

Mason draws on a century of Rimbaud scholarship to choreograph a superbly clear-eyed presentation of the poet’s works. He arranges Rimbaud’s writing chronologically, based on the latest manuscript evidence, so readers can experience the famously teenaged poet’s rapid evolution, from the lyricism of “Sensation” to the groundbreaking early modernism of A Season in Hell.

In fifty pages of previously untranslated material, including award-winning early verses, all the fragmentary poems, a fascinating early draft of A Season in Hell, a school notebook, and multiple manuscript versions of the important poem “O saisons, ô chateaux,” Rimbaud Complete displays facets of the poet unknown to American readers. And in his Introduction, Mason revisits the Rimbaud myth, addresses the state of disarray in which the poet left his work, and illuminates the intricacies of the translator’s art.

Mason has harnessed the precision and power of the poet’s rapidly changing voice: from the delicate music of a poem such as “Crows” to the mature dissonance of the Illuminations, Rimbaud Complete unveils this essential poet for a new generation of readers.

About Arthur Rimbaud

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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.
Published March 27, 2013 by Modern Library. 656 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Rimbaud Complete

Publishers Weekly

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There have been no fully satisfactory translations of the brilliant modernist forerunner Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891): the rather flat Wallace Fowlie version (Univ. of Chicago) is

Dec 17 2001 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud Complete (Modern Libr...

The Guardian

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A young soldier sleeps, lips apart, head bare, Neck bathing in cool blue watercress, Reclined in the grass beneath the clouds, Pale in his green bed showered with light.

Nov 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud Complete (Modern Libr...

Publishers Weekly

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The poems, unfortunately, are inexactly rendered, extending what Rimbaud wrote merely to force a rhyme (Rimbaud's couplet "My hunger, Anne, Anne/ Flee on your mule" is extended by Mason to "Flee on your mule if you can," for example), and sometimes mistranslated altogether.

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Entertainment Weekly

Rimbaud Complete (Modern Library, $24.95), Wyatt Mason's bouncy new translation of the avant-garde poet's hallucinatory corpus, finds new music in the writing, revealing a classical artist.

Apr 26 2002 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud Complete (Modern Libr...

Project MUSE

342 pages – almost a third of the 1101 pages – attest to the incredible volume of letters written and received by Rimbaud after he left Europe in 1875.) Guyaux’s edition also includes the recent discovery by Patrick Taliercio, a documentary filmmaker who was rummaging through old newspapers...

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The Kenyon Review

Let him die as he leaps through unheard of and unnamable things.1 Like his prophetic soul mate William Blake, Rimbaud believed, “I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s.”2 The same letter contained his most cryptic pronouncement: “I is someone else” (“Je est un autre”).3 Rimbaud ...

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