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Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel

Edmund White.
Publisher Atlas & Co  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 7.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
ISBN 9781934633151
Pages/Publication Date 192/2008
Daedalus Item Code 11148
This item is not available.
The distinguished biographer of Jean Genet and Marcel Proust, Edmund White offers this concise critical biography of Arthur Rimbaud (185491) with a historian's eye for detail, driven by an abiding personal interest in his subject. White delves 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 and offers incisive interpretations of the poems, using his own artful translations to bring us closer to the mercurial poet.

"White is fully on his mettle writing about the writer who sustained him when he was a frustrated, literary, 1950s gay teenager who yearned for the world cultural capital of New York. Rimbaud, of course, was White's perfect role model, for in similar straits, he actually took off, at 15, for the world cultural capital of Paris and pretty much created deliberately modern poetry. 'Rimbaud invented obscurity,' says White, also the prose poem, then abandoned literature completely at 20 and spent his remaining 17 years trying to be some kind of success, primarily in desert Abyssinia, of all places. White doesn't comment on the self-destructiveness it's hard to miss in Rimbaud's behavior all along but explains his poetry so tantalizingly that even hardened modern-poetry loathers may be tempted to give Illuminations and A Season in Hell another try. He also argues that Rimbaud was a modernist in his drive to succeed, idolization of machinery, and chronic restlessness as well as his antinomian poetics. One of the best products of the currently booming brief-biography genre."Booklist

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