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A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat

4.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,329 Ratings  ·  149 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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May 31, 2016 Cody rated it really liked it
This will be brief.

While looking for a particular title for a friend in a box of old books today, I came across this. I hadn't read Rimbaud in, god, twenty+ years? As a painfully twee, suis generis teenager, I guess he was a bit of a hero: a drunken, libidinal monster who, well, got laid a whole hell of a lot more than I did (though I matched him drink for drink). It's dogeared and bears all the telltales of my youth, underlined passages included. The young ladies, shockingly, did not faint at t
May 25, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing
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.
David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 David Lentz rated it really liked it
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
May 30, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it
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
May 08, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I understand, and not knowing how to express myself without pagan words, I’d rather remain silent.

I am not going to lie to you. This is definitely not the kind of book I would randomly read. To be quite honest, I wasn’t even aware of its existence until I found myself reading Patti Smith’s M Train and watching Ed Harris’ Pollock in the very same week. The title, A Season in Hell, was what caught my attention at first; then there was Patti Smith’s dedication to the author and the quote Lee Krasne
Mohammad Ali
این اثر پر است از اشعار و نوشته های مبهم - تا بدان حد که مرا آزار می داد. در میان این مبهم گویی ها قطعات زیبا و حتی درخشانی نیز به چشم می خورد. اما به طور کلی حس من این بود که باید قبل از ورود به آن درباره اش خواند؛ وگرنه ورود به دنیایش حداقل برای من با خواندنش میسر نشد

بخشی از فصلی در دوزخ، با نام " هذیان ها (1) " برایم جذایت خاصی داشت. توصیف رابطه ای مرموز و افسون گر و در عین حال کشنده و جانکاه. به گمانم شاهکاری بود این بخش. آنچه مرا وا داشت به جای دو ستاره، سه ستاره به این اثر بدهم همین بخش ب
Aug 08, 2012 Frankie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
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
Dec 19, 2012 Victoria Nicholson rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2012 David Haight rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jul 26, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
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).
Nov 15, 2013 Alexis rated it it was amazing
Pure, raw poetry.
Dec 29, 2015 Arcadia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-sofi
Rimbaud, darling, dearest Rimbaud. "A Season in Hell" was his letter of resignation. He had no hope, and he had decided to quit. His hopes had lied with art and love and they had let him down. Rimbaud saw himself as a visionary, but he had been failed by his mortality, by Christianity, by France. Rimbaud wished to trespass onto a new level of consciousness, and instead of trying again, he quits. This poem is written in the present tense, he wrote it whilst he was suffering this excommunication o ...more
May 09, 2014 Mat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2013 Marina rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 06, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2008 Maureen rated it really liked it
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.
R.K. Cowles
May 29, 2016 R.K. Cowles rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars
Mar 08, 2014 Minaho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, poetry
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.
Nov 02, 2008 matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetic-rapture

Satisfies and encourages every demand that it makes on its readers. There is plenty in this text for pretty much anybody who wants to dig it out.

What seems like teenage bravado (and, let's be honest, is often read out of teenage bravado) transcends the stereotypical limitations of the obstreperously drunk, young, rebellious, gifted, wild and unruly seer at the wheel.
Feb 06, 2014 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2014 Frilla Amanda rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 15, 2015 Cameron rated it really liked it
The great thing about Rimbaud is if you don't like his poetry, his autobiography is even better. He wrote all of his poems before he turned twenty, traveled the world seeking to consume drugs and live in filth and finally renounced poetry by his twenty-first birthday before vanishing to colonial Africa to finish his life as a gun-runner and trader. You can't make this stuff up. So it helps that Rimbaud is one of the greatest poets France ever produced and a major inspiration for virtually every ...more
Ricardo Vicuña
Nov 26, 2015 Ricardo Vicuña rated it it was amazing
Jim Morrison y Bob Dylan, los dos poetas más grandes del rock, escribieron muchos de sus mejores versos inspirados en su poesía. Solo he conocido tres o cuatro genios de la literatura; uno de ellos es Rimbaud. El desarreglo de los sentidos mediante las noches de excesos inhalando hachís y fumando opio dio como resultado al más "maldito" de todos los poetas. Rimbaud, que es solo un adolescente, intenta descender al infierno convirtiéndose en un chaman o vidente por medio de la abyección y la enfe ...more
David Antonelli
May 21, 2016 David Antonelli rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the biggest influences of my life - the poetry made me want to become a writer. The amazing cover photo made me want to become a film maker...more mature than Illuminations and also more introspective and ground breaking. I remember reading it over and over again during the many drafts of my novel The Narcissist, which draws on the poetry of Antonin Artaud, another visionary French poet. Rebellious and hallucinatory in turns, it is an epic of impressions of modern urban alienatio ...more
May 13, 2015 Valerie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poerty, life-changers
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
Jan 30, 2013 Moneyman Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • Selected Poems
  • Paris Spleen
  • Selected Writings
  • A Coney Island of the Mind
  • Artaud Anthology
  • Gasoline & The Vestal Lady on Brattle
  • Collected Poems and Other Verse
  • The Selected Poems
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • The Cantos
  • The Collected Books
  • The Complete Poems
  • Spring and All
  • The Collected Poems, 1945-1975
  • Aurélia and Other Writings
  • Sonnets to Orpheus
  • The Selected Poems
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
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.” 803 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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