Title: Poetry, Verse, A Season in Hell / Poésies, Vers, Une Saison en Enfer
Author: Arthur Rimbaud
Publisher: Mercure De Francer, Paris, 1946
Condition: Hardcover, leather spine and corners with hard boards. In very good condition, pages evenly tanned, firmly bound. A rare edition of three books of Rimbaud’s rebound into a single volume.
All text is in the original French.
About the Author (from Wikipedia):
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854 – 1891) was a French poet born in Charleville, Ardennes. He influenced modern literature and arts, inspired various musicians, and prefigured surrealism. He started writing poems at a very young age, while still in primary school, and stopped completely before he turned 21. He was mostly creative in his teens (17-20). His “genius, its flowering, explosion and sudden extinction, still astonishes”.
Rimbaud was known to have been a libertine and a restless soul. He traveled extensively on three continents before his death from cancer just after his thirty-seventh birthday.
Rimbaud’s poetry, as well as his life, influenced many 20th century writers, musicians and artists, including Pablo Picasso, Dylan Thomas, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Allen Ginsberg, Vladimir Nabokov, Bob Dylan, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Patti Smith, Giannina Braschi, Léo Ferré, Henry Miller, Van Morrison, Penny Rimbaud, Jim Morrison, and Trent Reznor.
A Season in Hell (Une Saison en Enfer) is an extended poem in prose written and published in 1873. It is the only work that was published by Rimbaud himself. The book had a considerable influence on later artists and poets, including the Surrealists.
Rimbaud began writing the poem in April 1873 during a visit to his family’s farm in Roche, near Charleville on the French-Belgian border. According to Bertrand Mathieu, Rimbaud wrote the work in a dilapidated barn. In the following weeks, Rimbaud travelled with poet Paul Verlaine through England and Belgium. They quarreled frequently, and Verlaine had bouts of suicidial behavior and drunkenness. When Rimbaud announced he planned to leave, Verlaine fired three shots from his revolver, wounding Rimbaud once, and after subsequent threats of violence Verlaine was arrested and incarcerated to two years hard labour. After their parting, he returned home to complete the work and published A Season in Hell. However, when his reputation was marred because of his actions with Verlaine, he received negative reviews and was snubbed by Parisian art and literary circles. In anger, Rimbaud burned his manuscripts and likely never wrote poetry again.
According to some sources, Rimbaud’s first stay in London in late 1872 and early ’73 converted him from an imbiber of absinthe to a smoker of opium. According to biographer, Graham Robb, this began “as an attempt to explain why some of his [Rimbaud’s] poems are so hard to understand, especially when sober”. The poem was by Rimbaud himself dated April through August 1873, but these are dates of completion. He finished the work in a farmhouse in Roche, Ardennes.
There is a marked contrast between the hallucinogenic quality of Une Saison’s second chapter, “Mauvais Sang” (“Bad Blood”) and even the most hashish-influenced of the immediately preceding verses that he wrote in Paris. Its third chapter, “Nuit de l’Enfer” (literally “Night of Hell”), then exhibits a refinement of sensibility. The two sections of chapter four apply this sensibility in professional and personal confession; and then, slowly but surely, at age 19, he begins to think clearly about his real future; the introductory chapter being a product of this later phase.