Rimbaud by Edmund White
The Double Life of a Rebel

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The distinguished biographer, novelist, and memoirist Edmund White brings his literary mastery to a new biography of Arthur Rimbaud.

Poet and prodigy Arthur Rimbaud led a life that was startlingly short, but just as dramatically eventful and accomplished. Even today, over a century after his death in 1891, his visionary poetry has continued to influence everyone from Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan to Patti Smith. His long poem A Season in Hell (1873) and his collection Illuminations (1886) are essential to the modern canon, marked by a hallucinatory and hypnotic style that defined the Symbolist movement in poetry. Having sworn off writing at the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud drifted around the world from scheme to scheme, ultimately dying from an infection contracted while running guns in Africa. He was thirty-seven.

Edmund White writes with a historian's eye for detail, driven by a genuine personal investment in his subject. White delves deep into the young poet's relationships with his family, his teachers, and his notorious affair with the more established poet Paul Verlaine. He follows the often elusive (sometimes blatant) threads of sexual taboo that haunt Rimbaud's poems (in those days, sodomy was a crime) and offers incisive interpretations of the poems, using his own artful translations to bring us closer to the mercurial poet.

About Edmund White

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Raised in the Midwest and Texas, Edmund White is a renowned author and literary and cultural critic. He is the author of biographies of Genet and-in the Penguin Lives series-of Proust, and of eight novels including Hotel de Dream. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He teaches at Princeton and lives in New York City.
Published November 17, 2008 by Atlas. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Here is a lean, incisive biographical-critical book by one of our outstanding literary commentators. In compelling personal writing, White (Genet: A Biography ) s

Aug 18 2008 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud: The Double Life of a...

The New York Times

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Edmund White's capsule biography of Rimbaud, poetry's enfant terrible.

Oct 15 2008 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud: The Double Life of a...

The Independent

Although Rimbaud and Verlaine have both been elevated to the gay pantheon, White is at pains to point out that, unlike the subjects of his two earlier biographies, Proust and Genet, Rimbaud gave no evidence of an all-embracing interest in his own sex.

Feb 13 2009 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud: The Double Life of a...

The Independent

Though White's hero worship of Rimbaud may have propelled him to Paris, he stopped short of becoming "a short-tempered, wilful hellion".

Aug 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud: The Double Life of a...

New York Magazine

The formerly shy 17-year-old Hefner became one of the most popular students at school when, having been rejected by a girl the previous summer, he consciously invented what would become his iconic persona: He put on stylish clothes, started acting suave around ladies, used “hip” expressions like ...

Oct 26 2008 | Read Full Review of Rimbaud: The Double Life of a...

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