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A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  5,896 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Although he stopped writing at the age of 19, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) possessed the most revolutionary talent of the century. His poetry & prose have increasingly influenced major writers. To his masterpiece A Season in Hell is here added Rimbaud's longest & possibly greatest single poem The Drunken Boat, with the original French en face Illuminations, Rimbaud's m ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published June 28th 1961 by New Directions (first published 1837)
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Community Reviews

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What young boy exists who doesn't want to be Rimbaud. The Grand daddy or rock n' roll - and modern literature. A combination of Peter Pan and a thug, Rimbaud wrote beautifully as well as being sharp as a broken blade.

"A Season In Hell" indeed. May I wonder in that neighborhood for a long time.
May 30, 2008 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: white boys with existential crises
Recommended to Rachel by: white boy with existential crisis
initially i wrote this off as the drunken masturbatory ramblings of a privileged white boy in france. which it is. but once i shook off my distaste for that particular trope, i kinda started liking his bad-ass shtick.

i really hated the intro although it's somewhat a necessity- some dude blathers on in a horribly biased way about rimbaud for like 15 pages. he fails to directly acknowledge hardships, queerness, blablablablabla, mostly trying to figure out how to get the whole of his body into rim
David Lentz
After reading his Illuminations, I decided that I definitely wanted to encounter more of Arthur Rimbaud. I was intrigued by his creative proposition that in order to become engaged with existence the poet must place himself at variance with life. This positioning of the poet in surging counter-subjectivity to life is somewhat Hegelian in that it induces not only a creative synthesis but suffering as its essential Muse. While A Season in Hell is mature Rimbaud toward the end of his life, the Drun ...more
I really enjoyed Illuminations but not so much this one, perhaps for its prose aspect. Patti Smith's foreword is fun to read, though rather excessive in style and vulgarity. Keeping Rimbaud's amazing literary story in mind, you can understand the "farewell message" quality. His strongest themes of sacrilegious denial and mourning for his lost love for Verlaine go hand in hand. Some of his imagery is brilliant, amazingly modern for its time, and yet some is immature and unfocused. He was 19 when ...more
Victoria Nicholson
The Drunken Boat is written from the viewpoint of a sunk sad ship thats
led a exciting life.This poem protests the law of the market, slavery,
war, etc. It is visionary.It has gorgeous imagery such as "the northern
lights rising like a kiss to the sea" and "swells that batter like terrified cattle". Rimbaud a child prodigy ran away from home as a teen
and lived on the streets including a experimental commune.When the commune was forced closed by elite French soldiers , these soldiers
gangbanged Rimba
Nathan Lorraine
What can i say about Arthur Rimbaud as a writer? He was eighteen when he wrote this epic poem. He almost never wrote again afterwards. A Season in Hell is an epic poem married with a fanstastic short poem called The Drunken Boat. The mass of this review will be of A Season in Hell. As a begining writer I set it in my mind to write poems more than verse. I went to the book store one day and went straight to the poetry section. I saw all kinds of great authors that i read in school. But as i glanc ...more
David Haight
Rimbaud's famed "letter of resignation" to the world of writing is a blistering journey through one man's soul as he struggles to come to terms with his art, the nature of love, morality, modernity and a whole host of other things. Ignore the fact that this was written nearly in the present tense, while Rimbaud was in the midst of his suffering (not after it had past), or that he had only been writing a few scant years or amazingly that he was barely out of his teens, was a genius and was never ...more
Two of my favorite works by Arthur Rimbaud. I have read the complete works several times and always enjoy reading new translations of Rimbaud. This one has a marvelous introduction (which really illustrates where Rimbaud was at during the period of his life when he wrote "Une Saison en Enfer" -- particularly concerning his tumultuous relationship with Paul Verlaine) and it has some strengths in terms of language choices and clarity. The opening lines of "A Season in Hell" dance memorably across ...more
I was inspired to read Rimbaud after the editor of a poetry magazine referenced him in a critique of my youthful writing. The poems were a challenge and dark but I read them and found them to be better than much of what I was being taught in high school English class at the time (1967).
Pure, raw poetry.
I want to give Mr. Rimbaud five stars (would give six if I could). This is a fantastic, jaw-dropping book of poetry. Now I know why people rave about Rimbaud all the time.
The first time I ever heard of Rimbaud was in my French literature class during the one year I spent abroad in Provence back in 1996. There was a poster on the wall with a drawing of man who had the Sylvester Stallone bad-guy bandanna look from Rambo (get it? har har) - but with 'Rimbaud' written underneath. I think it was a po
Though this book would be fantastic for people of any age, I feel like I, being 15, especially enjoyed it because Rimbaud's writing is basically fueled on teen angst. My theory as to why he stopped writing at the ripe old age of 19 is because he aged out of his teenage hatred of anything and everything. I mean, he basically put himself through hell so that he could be seen as a tortured soul and so that he would have material for his poetry. He even said “I’m now making myself as scummy as I can ...more
Rimbaud was only a young boy, still growing up, and yet his works gives an explosion of emotions. The powerfulness expressed in A Season in Hell is what many writers aspire to write throughout their lives. Upon reading Rimbaud’s chronology, the readers see what Rimbaud’s life was like. Knowing his life, helped better understand why he wrote what he wrote and at the early stage of adulthood. This book, though short, was great to read. After reading the first page, I found myself reading the next, ...more
Michael Davis
I would give it a half-star because it is well-written. Otherwise I have no use for anyone who tortures themselves and the people around them, debases their own nature, and writes about it. Hemingway, Joyce, Faulkner - all were licentious, all created great works of literature that gave insight onto the human condition and revealed their own higher nature. They struggled against their worst impulses; oftentimes lost; but their writing was always and everywhere more luminous than themselves.

Sep 03, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: Patti Smith
Shelves: poetry, french
I love the idea that Rimbaud gave up poetry at the age of seventeen, just when many other writers are barely getting started. Unfortunately, that was probably a good thing, because he was so smashed, half of what he wrote doesn't make any sense. Poetry doesn't always need to conform to reality on the surface, but underneath, it needs to have some sense of an alternate reality as a whole, which I found lacking more in The Drunken Boat than A Season in Hell. I enjoy some of Rimbaud's imagery, and ...more
Dec 01, 2008 Mike added it
Shelves: 50-books-2008
This, like Notes From Underground, is a book I've been aware of for years but, for whatever reason, never got around to reading. Having just finished it now I can clearly say that I enjoyed immensely Rimbaud's powerful writing, but cannot say in a concrete number of stars how exactly I felt about it. I can, however, say that I'm sure I'll be coming back to this many times to cement my understanding of it. This is one I'll keep at hand often and explore.
Rimbaud's words in this collection are aggressive and defiant. I felt a heavy stone had sat in my thought during reading, even when I finished. His thoughts goes round and round. He seemed to have worried about his future, then struggled in emotional turmoil between the society and himself. As considering his age and background, it was natural. But his mind was very mature.
I will read again someday after I experience more struggles. I think the next time I would be glad to receive his words.
I wanted to throw the book against the wall while reading the first half, and then tell Rimbaud to grow up. But things improved with the poetry and more reflective passages. I swooned over the following: "At first it was an experiment. I wrote silences, I wrote night. I recorded the inexpressible. I fixed frenzies in their flight."
Frilla Amanda
mind blowing, haunting, beautifully written.

It's like Rimbaud poured his heart, his mind, his soul into it and rather than just reading his writing, I felt like I was listening to his inner thoughts. It's beautiful, wonderfully so.

I fell in love after I read Delirium I.
Much has been said about Arthur Rimbaud, the ultimate bad boy of letters. Much of his legend rest of the difficultly of separating the insanity of his historical life from the megalomaniac persona of his writing, and "A Season in Hell" is the height of his mania--and apparently his opium use.

In an early chapter, a rant against French culture entitled "Bad Blood," he writes: "Yes, my eyes are closed to your light. I am an animal, a nigger. But I can be saved. You are fake niggers; maniacs, savag
Moneyman Robinson
The book A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat is a translation by Patti Smith. She translated it from Arthur Rimbaud who originally wrote the book. This book is separated by two poems, A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat. I felt like the poem A Season in Hell was pretty nice because he was describing a lot of things that were going on during his life’s journey at the moment. It seemed like every experience he came across, he didn’t really like it because in the poem, the tone seemed as if he ...more
Amanda Leon
Check out my full review here!

Arthur Rimbaud was a legendary poet of French Symbolism who started writing as a teenager and stopped his career at 19 and in his wake, left a work that would later inspire artistssuch as Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison.

His poems sort of have this dreamy, whimsical aspect to them, full of heart and imagery as if he's traveled great planes across the world, even though he would do that la
Mackenzee Stainette
A Season in Hell by author Rimbaud was rather painful to read. I am 19 years old, so this book was a bit advanced for me. I am also not very passionate about this type of literature and found it to be of little value to me in the real world. It was very difficult to bring myself to a time that I’m unfamiliar with and attempt to decipher what he was trying to communicate to the reader. I feel as though he was speaking in riddles I did not understand. This modernist method of writing is not for me ...more
Rimbaud a season in hell to me is a book not worth reading. Maybe it’s because it’s my first time reading a modernist book, by someone who has this writing style that would confuse Albert Einstein (meaning, this book is not logical). Rimbaud at one point even says in one passage that he is untranslatable. What! He seems to be saying to me, enjoy not knowing what you’re reading, because I design my work that way. So I say to him, I don’t like that; even though I applaud you for trying to make me ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Anonymous rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anonymous by: Prof D.C. Perkins
Arthur Rimbaud transformed poetry of his day at a very early age. He strived to live in the moment – to be absolutely modern. Apparently, his father, Captain Rimbaud, married his mother, Vitalie Cuif, for her dowry, as she was the daughter of a very prosperous farmer in Roche, near Charleville. After Arthur’s father left them, his mother could barely afford to live in anything but a slum-like section of Charleville. As any parent would, she only wanted the best for Arthur. After learning of his ...more
Paul Stubbs
an essay by Paul Stubbs, first published in The Black Herald, issue 2 - September 2011

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in arguing that the Western world was essentially dominated by the so-called ‘last people’—those who, without the arrow of propulsive time, saw only the pointless drudgery of repetition—could well have been paving the way for the young author of A Season in Hell, whom Nietzsche might also have aligned with his post-Christendom depiction of Christ as a ‘holy anarchist’
"My spirit, beware. No violent projects of salvation.
Bestir yourself!-Ah! for us science is too slow!
-But I see that my spirit is asleep.
If it were always wide awake from that moment
on we should soon reach the truth that may even now
surround us with her weeping angels!...-If it had
been awake till this very instant, that would mean
I had not yielded to my deleterious instincts in an im-
memorial age!...-If it had always been wide awake,
I should be under full sail on the high sea of wis-
O pur
Mike  Kelley

When a group of French writers reformatted Une Saison en Enfer and submitted it to a bunch of publishers and released the rejection slip and comments, it merely affirmed what most readers of Rimbaud don't readily admit. It is a cypher of a work. At moments coherent and terrifying and others referring to a reality that may or may not have even existed in his grey cells. It almost makes one think of those rare elements that exist for seconds under special conditions and just like those physicists
Rimbaud was only a young boy, still growing up, and yet his works gives an explosion of emotions. The powerfulness expressed in A Season in Hell is what many writers aspire to write throughout their lives. This book, though short, was great to read. After reading the first page, I found myself reading the next, and then the next until almost finishing the book in one session.
All of the passages in this collection fit very well together, many of them sharing similar emotions and meanings in my ey
I can't say I enjoyed any of the "Rimbaud Chronology" in the place of a true introduction: the writing was utterly biased in the least objective way possible, and there wasn't an attempt to connect Rimbaud's life with his works other than mere dates. Besides that, and a few weird parts in translation (in my opinion, of course), I thoroughly enjoyed this. His ramblings were familiar and completely foreign all at once. His prose - if you want to call it that - was full of the emotion and I think I ...more
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French poet and adventurer, who stopped writing verse at the age of 21, and became after his early death an inextricable myth in French gay life. Rimbaud's poetry, partially written in free verse, is characterized by dramatic and imaginative vision. "I say that one must be a visionary - that one must make oneself a VISIONARY." His works are among the most original in the Symbolist movement. Rimbau ...more
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“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.” 749 likes
“ such thing.

Whatever it is that binds families and married couples together, that's not love. That's stupidity or selfishness or fear. Love doesn't exist.

Self interest exists, attachment based on personal gain exists, complacency exists. But not love. Love has to be reinvented, that’s certain.”
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