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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  6,379 ratings  ·  227 reviews
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Title: Illuminations
Author: Rimbaud, Arthur
Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Publication Date: 1957/06/01
Number of Pages:
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress:
Paperback, 182 pages
Published February 1st 1988 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1875)
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Huda Yahya

ياأصدقائي الملونين
يالكثرة الجرذان
يتناسلن في خصر المدينة
بينما ظلت الأبصار
تتطلع إلى أعياد الموت

هذه هي الروح المشردة المعربدة القلقة لصاحبها الذي أثر في الشعر الأوروبي المعاصر بأكمله

آرثر رامبو تستطيع تلخيصه في كلمة فذّ
العبقرية تستطع من كلماته المغتربة والحزين

فصل في الجحيم هو آخر قطعة أدبية كتبها رامبو وبعدها اعتزل الكتابة نهائياً حتى وفاته الأليمة عام1891

هذا الكتاب البديع يحمل فلسفة رامبو البوهيمية ويذهلك كيف لشاب في هذه السن المبكرة أن يكون على هذه الدرجة من الوعي والعمق والعبقرية

يقول عنه ألبير...more
I'm an organized person. Psychotically organized. Except when it comes to books. I try to plan my readings, I try to finish one book in order to begin a new one, but it's all in vain. I read what I want to read, whenever I have the need of reading it. So, with four books on my currently-reading shelf, today I felt like reading something different. First, some weird stuff by Tim Burton, then, A Season in Hell caught my attention and here we are.

Anyway, this is one of those books I should read whi...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Finii col trovare sacro il disordine del mio spirito. »

Stamattina devo aver appoggiato il piede sbagliato sullo scendiletto. Altrimenti non si spiegherebbe perché la mia testa abbia associato una tazza di latte coi cereali (la crusca, detesto la crusca) ad Arthur Rimbaud. Non si spiegherebbe perché sono entrata in punta di piedi nella stanza-studiolo, ho aperto l’anta dell’armadio-libreria con un timore quasi reverenziale e ho tirato giù dallo scaffale il volume grosso e blu che giace lì da te...more
I feel a little about Ashbery translating Rimbaud the way I did about Pavement once closing a show with two Velvet Underground covers. With both, there’s a touching tip of the hat to one’s roots, but also a little bit of giving the game away. Not that either has to worry about the charge of being derivative (if anything, Ashbery’s Rimbaud sounds more like elegant, bittersweet, cast-off mot juste Ashbery than it does the Johnny Rotten of French lit), but the effects that made each stand out from...more
I think what's amazing here is that a magnificent American Poet John Ashbery at the age 83 (or something like that) translated the great poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, whose poems were written when he was in his teens. The ultimate teenage rebel icon touched by the grand poet of American letters, whose work is still controversial and has a bite. One wonders what took so long?
The truth is in this book, well, kind of. Rimbaud will always be this cloud that floats above us. It is there to be captured an...more
Marilyn Moreau
It would be impossible to get a better edition than Bulfinch Press's. The pairing of Rimbaud's fiery poetry with Mapplethorpe's photographs is the perfect marriage en enfer for the demon bridegroom.
Faisal AlHebainy
قراءة مريضة. نفس بشعة. حياة حالمة ومنحطة.
هكذا هو رامبو الذي أحببته.
كان كما الإسم تمامًا، فصل في الجحيم.
Some literature does to a tormented soul what antibiotics does to the body. It can prescribed as a cure when someone needs it.

Rimbaud here is a broken man after a lover has left him. The reason of his descent is not clearly made but the whole poem demonstrates his tormented, confused presense and need for love.

Reading this I was amazed how he used such strange surrealist images to create a desperate, morbid atmosphere in which he is looking for satisfaction to come eventually. Rimbaud, like ano...more
Jan 16, 2010 Fox rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sean
Recommended to Fox by: Megan McPherson
Shelves: fiction, poetry, 2010
A Season in Hell & Illuminations was a book that I was introduced to in the dead of night. I was handed the text and asked to read and, being me, proceeded to open to random pages and read aloud in an impassioned tone. When read like this - in the middle of the night with all of its magic and attractions, the text is like fire.

Rimbaud's words alternatively scorch and caress, they raise up the most enlivened fancies and play out dark fantasies unlike anything else one could ever be exposed to...more
Michael Steger
John Ashbery translating Rimbaud seems such a logical, even natural pairing, that it is surprising it hasn't happened sooner. (Should we believe Ashbery when in the acknowledgments of his translation of Rimbaud's Illuminations, he thanks Norton editor Robert Weil for giving him the idea?) Ashbery has said that he was about 16 when he first encountered Rimbaud’s poetry, which happens to be about the same time that Ashbery was reading closely the poetry of W. H. Auden. In 1956, Auden would select...more
David Lentz
The mark of an extraordinary writer to me has always had something to do with whether the writer's genre was enhanced by the writer. This is a tall order, I know, but the very best writers change the way that their genre is perceived. Rimbaud's prose poems challenged the traditonal style of the Romantics who wrote before him. He brought a sharp, new incandescence, a flaring literary reality, a breakthrough perception to poetry expressed by his point of view. His stirring soul is seared by his ep...more
I can't stop reading books alongside Infinite Jest.

Today I checked out Ashbery's new translation of Illuminations from the library and read it in one sitting in my kitchen. I'm glad I did it. It's a beautiful book. I don't know much French, but I will fight anyone who says this is not a good translation.

Really, we should all be singing these poems to each other. We should've fought for the last copies in bookstores and read them all the first night they were published. If we care about poetry an...more
Stars seem difficult here (for translation? for R or A or both?), because I read another translation of *Illuminations* some time ago, and remember feeling like I was reading a translation. But Ashbery's Rimbaud is something quite different, more immediate, and perhaps one way of living out "I is someone else" ("Je est un autre.") To reference lines I'll use "R/A" (Resident Assistant? Recycled Author?).

In "Historic Evening" R/A bemoans the Romantic hangover: "'s no longer possible to submit...more
S.D. Johnson
My first whole book in French & even more than I expected. With language like carved crystal, a text infused with rapture, despair, a kind of monkish dereliction.... We are drawn into its supreme egoism, an egoism which doesn't long to dominate the reader, but to simply celebrate (rightfully) its own supremacy of voice, & one I think not only fascinating in its description of other times & lands... but reaching its greatest fulfillment in a nostalgia for things which have never exist...more
Fuad Takrouri
((كــــم سيبدو لك عجيبـــا ،بعد أن أفارقك،كل ما مررت به.عندما تفتقدين ذراعي تحت عنقك،وقلبــــي الذي تأوين اليه،وهذا الغـــم الذي يلثم جفنيـــك.فلا بد أن أرحل،بعيــدا،يوم مـــا.ولا بد أن أساعد في ذلك آخرين :هذا واجبي.ولو أني لا اشتهيه البتة... يا عزيزتي ...)).وعلى الفور كنـــت أحس بنفسي،بعد فراقه،فريســة الذهول،هاويــة إلى أرهب الظلمـــات: إلى المـــوت.فأخذت عليه العهــــد ألاّ يهجرني.بل لقد أكّـــد لي هذا العهد –عهـــد العاشــــق- عشــــــرين مرة.لكن عهده كان من الهزل مثل ما كنت حين قلت :((انـــ...more
Lesfleurs Dumal
This just blew my mind, so impetuous and with such incredible visions. Rimbaud knew something we didn't. And at such a young age? How would anyone know to write such incredible things and to improve on the poetic fashionable/revolutionary fashion of symbolism? How did he have all this figured out? I'm just amazed at his prescience and aggression. I would have loved to have known such a shooting star!

Les F.
Reem  Abdel-aziz
وكالعاده الترجمة تدمر الكتب وتقضي على ما فيها من معاني واحاسيس
I happen to have the Paul Schmidt and Louise Varese translations as well, and find that each of them has more felicitous versions of particular phrases but that no one translator stands out for me as far above the others. Ashberry and Varese are more literal, but I think I like Schmidt’s slightly looser translation as perhaps being more evocative in being less mechanically accurate.
Ed Smiley
What do you make of an author that hands a work for publication to an ex-lover who shot him?

The imagery is vivid, idiosyncratic hermetic and strangely beautiful, and anticipates surealism.

Ashbery has, as far as I can tell, done an excellent job in translation. The original and translation appear on opposite sides. I don't speak French in any meaningful sense, but there is a an exquisite sound sense in his language that I can pick up in a vague sense in reading (and doubtless mispronouncing) pass...more
Moataz Muhammad
كان نفسي أبقي من الناس اللي بتقرأ حاجة خفيفة تخفف من الاكتئاب ، لكن وجدتني بافتح فصل من الجحيم لآرثر رمبو ، وانهالت الجحيم علي بلا هوادة.

آرثر رمبو. شخصية جدلية عرفت عنها أكتر من المقدمة. شخصيا ماكنتش مهتم بتاريخ رمسيس يونان وسبب ترجمته للكتاب قد ما كنت مهتم بال37 سنة اللي عاشهم رمبو علي أرضنا وارتحل فيهم رايح جاي هنا وهناك أكتر من قدرتي علي التخيل.
كتير هيشوفوه فاسق وعربيد. لكن لو ركزت علي أشعاره هتلاقي شيء غريب جدا. هتلاقي اعتراف صريح بفسقه وحبه لحياة العربدة والترحال وكسر التابوهات. لكن في نفس...more
Sad, sad, sad. Ashbery is a magnificent poet in his own right, but has wholly butchered this translation of Rimbaud. With the French-and-English bitext herein, it is easy to see that J.A. is lacking in his knowledge of the French language. Everything is denoted far too literally, with Rimbaud's sentence structures adopting the grammatical stylings of an automatically-translated French-to-English text.

Kinder reviewers than I have rendered this edition as "meticulously faithful [...] Ashbery’s ap...more
The rating is for the volume at hand, obviously, not for Rimbaud (most of which, apart from some well-known passages, I don't in the least understand: I read Season in Hell, Illuminations, Drunken Boat).

Appelbaum's translations are pretty awful, and at times out and out wrong. But as a dual-language book, switching back and forth, bad translations are sometimes better than good ones -- if they're literal. So it's a tough call.
Jun 06, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gloomy doomy kids
When I was a mere slip of a boy and my flesh tasted like chicken and goth had not quite creeped into non-existence I would sulk in dimly lit buses reading Rimbaud.
"Illuminations" reminds me of Baudelaire's "Paris Spleen" in that these are not poems so much as they are prose pieces, little snatches of light of varying shades. This is good reading on rainy nights.
This is the Mark Taharne translation; in his introduction he spells out the enormous difficulties involved with translating and interpreting the poetry, and advises readers to look at as many translations as possible.
I got this off the shelf yesterday to coincide with the BBC Radio 3 production in its series 'Between the Ears'. The latter is a marvellous ongoing immersion in 'soundscapes', music, song and spoken word. The R3 site and its blog say of this production:

An abridged radio reworking o...more
I've wanted to read A Season in Hell for a while, but when I saw the rave reviews of Ashbery's translation of Les Illuminations I decided to start with this. I'm very happy with it. Having the French alongside is great, especially for the untranslatable cadence of pieces like "Mouvement" and "Marine," both incredibly colorful and hypnotic poems. I know little French, just enough to read very privately and savor the audible flow of the phrase.

The themes are prescient of the 20th century's dadaism...more
David Jenkins
I have not in fact read all of this "long-awaited" translation by John Ashbery (the clumsy excerpts of the translation I saw in magazines did not exactly whet my appetite), but read it first in French in about 1952 and many times since. Rimbaud is without doubt one of the most fascinating literary figures who ever lived. His astounding capacity to manipulate language is in my opinion rivaled only by Shakespeare's, and Rimbaud is even more astonishing in that he didn't go through a period of appr...more
We have faith in the poison. We know how to give our whole life every day. – Morning of Drunkenness

Rimbaud has quickly become a favourite. I’ve re-read this book thrice over the last month, finding new things to delight me each time around.

I’m in love with his words. But I’m also fascinated by him. All of his works were written in his mid to late teens. He gave up writing altogether by the age of 21. One of the French enfant terrible, he caused quite the ruckus during his lifetime (which was, in...more
Scot Quaranda
Fantastic work, I have read bits and pieces of Rimbaud through the years though never sat down with an specific collection. This was a great one to start with. I am not sure I know how to read and fully immerse myself in all poetry but this was easy to enter and quickly took me away. Though much of what I have read has been a brilliant view into his angst, his relationship with Verlaine, etc. this set had a much more metaphysical/theosophical feel to it and included absolutely beautiful fragment...more
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Rimbaud writes with a writhing pen while Ashbery translates with a titillating tongue. Chromatiques become gossip columns. Reading along with the original French is a treat. These poems are the step off into modernity. Their wild oxymorons scintillate stirring up hideous joy! Abysmal delight! Nights of brilliant and clear-eyed delirium!
Fairies, flowers and flea markets take turns standing in as subjects while the poet posits preposterous notions. War, women and woe are seen through a theatrical...more
I know of no other translator who has captured Rimbaud's youthful voice: Donald Revell is the first. While there are several beautiful translations of A Season in Hell--Paul Schmidt and Wyatt Mason have both produced excellent versions--the voice is always that of a middle aged man, not of a boy in his late teens.

With Revell's transation, we have that voice, and it is amazing to feel the energy and the freshness of this French monolith when an innocence is maintained. Perhaps some of the success...more
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  • Paris Spleen
  • Alcools
  • Selected Poems
  • Artaud Anthology
  • The Maximus Poems
  • Paterson
  • Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
  • Sonnets to Orpheus
  • The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • Collected Poems and Other Verse
  • "A"
  • The Cantos
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
More about Arthur Rimbaud...
A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat Complete Works Rimbaud: Poems (Pocket Poets) Poésies complètes Une Saison En Enfer les Illuminations: Et Autres Textes (1873-1875)

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