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Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  8,802 ratings  ·  235 reviews
The enfant terrible of French letters, Jean-Nicholas-Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) was a defiant and precocious youth who wrote some of the most remarkable prose and poetry of the nineteenth century, all before leaving the world of verse by the age of twenty-one. More than a century after his death, the young rebel-poet continues to appeal to modern readers as much for his turb ...more
Paperback, Bilingual Edition, 496 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1870)
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Sebastienne Rimbaud
Mar 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: poetry
English-language poetry, excepting maybe the contributions of the Beats, has remained largely untouched by the Rimbaud phantasmagoria - interestingly enough, his enfant terrible personality made him more influential among protopunk musicians than poets. However, anyone who's ventured even slightly into the realm of European verse has fallen beneath the vast shadow of Rimbaud.

Considered the greatest of French poets by many, his verses were made even more remarkable by the dangerous philosophy of
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2011, thebest
rimbaud is comfort reading for the soul. i fell into reading him on accident, i was talking about poetry with a friend and he happened to mention that this was his favourite poet. and he told me all about rimbaud’s past, the tryst he had with paul verlaine, the religious upbringing he had and the curious fact that rimbaud stopped writing at 21. that he dropped everything to become a merchant and to run away from it all. my interest was piqued; there isn’t any way that it couldn’t be.

what strikes
Nik Kane
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I spent the summer of my 18th year in semi-voluntary exile on a tiny isle in the Adriatic. Of the few books I had room to pack I think two were different translations of Rimbaud and one was about him. I passed those four months drinking a lot, listening to a lot of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and T-Rex, and reading Rimbaud constantly. These poems are so tied up in my mind with that period of time that I still can't read them without being instantaneously transported back there. Same with T-Rex's Elect ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poetry has always been kinda dull to me. Some poetry is pretty, but I've never really seen the point to it.

And then I discovered Rimbaud.

The thing about Rimbaud is that you can't read his poetry without knowing at least some of his backstory. His religious upbringing. His frequent rebellions and escapes. His affair with Paul Verlaine. And then, most amazing of all, the fact that he stopped writing poetry before he hit 21.

This collection is of everything that Rimbaud wrote, and he wrote it all at
M.L. Rio
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Rimbaud and I really enjoy Mason's translations; they're faithful without being inflexible.
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
Arthur Rimbaud is one of my favourite poets and that’s that
Amy (Other Amy)
All I can think about this is that Rimbaud's work must really sing in French. Because this ... this is not good. It is not remotely great. This is the ranting of a teenage boy who did not want to grow up, did not want to be responsible. He insults his mother, but he always runs home to her. It seems to me that his reputation mostly rests on his shocking biography and his letters. (Of course, I recognize that timing is everything in literature; when he wrote, much of this must have seemed new and ...more
Jerry Landry
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rimbaud is one of those literary figures that I find myself coming back to from time to time and always developing a new fascination and affection for.
Alex O'Brien
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2019
This is a wonderful edition of Rimbaud's Complete Works in translation.

Paul Schmidt, the translator, divides the poems into eight seasons according to the estimated chronology. There is a fine introduction to Rimbaud's work, and there are further introductory notes at the beginning of each season section, providing context to the poems. Rimbaud's letters are placed both throughout the text, and there's a large collection at the end in the eight season. This makes the book read somewhat like a me
Another one that disappeared into the Goodreads void. Someone out there in another universe is probably enjoying it now. Anyways, one of my favorites. Makes me feel the way Kafka feels. Expresses deep and powerful emotion through words.
Petruccio Hambasket IV
"In this moment of awakening, I had a vision of purity! Through the mind we go to God!

What a crippling misfortune!"
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
He has cruelly, wildly, savagely, and oh, so beautifully
scratched, ripped off his own flesh,
his layers
Bloody, raw, completely blunt, pure,
everything and nothing
All is clear in the violent red
In the blood, in the teeth, in the aggression, in the claws
He has ripped away all his flesh
until he reaches his heart
As he writes
He is savagely ripping, biting, tearing
apart his very essence,
his beating heart
He is dying and living
Ripping and panting and breathing and biting
There is blood
So much blood
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, fantabulous
I discovered Rimbaud in High School, and since then his tormented and garroulous spirit have inspired me and I find myself returning to his prose and poetry often......this is a complete collection of his work, edited by Wyatt Mason; and I still read this like it was new and fresh to me. His words and wording bring up not just images, but an illusion that is immediately recognizable and relatable. This book is divided according to periods of his life, but every piece could stand alone. I find in ...more
Gene Wagendorf III
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poetry students
Shelves: poetry
The best collection of Rimbaud's work I've read. Presents several translations of his work and justifies/explains why and how the editor got to the one they chose. Also includes some really great excerpts from Rimbaud's school notebooks, poems and little blurbs, that you won't find anywhere else.
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have very fond memories of finding Rimbaud. I was killing time in one of my favorite small bookstores before I was to meet friends and wound up in front of the poetry shelf on the second floor. His name sounded familiar to me from all my reading on Bob Dylan, and the wonderful movie "I'm Not There" where A.R. is played by Ben Whishaw ("R-I-M-B-A-U-D"), so I picked this volume off the shelf and started reading.

An hour later I was still on the floor of the bookstore, late to my appointment, and
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I enjoyed this translation, though I like elements of the translation by Wyatt Mason better. If I find the time down the road, I would like to subject them to a more rigorous juxtaposition. I am particularly fond, as always, of "Un Saison en Enfer" and "Illuminations." I also found the letters more enjoyable this time around, particularly the earlier letters about his literary life. The later letters to his family were very sad, highlighting what he describes as a "miserable life." It helped me ...more
Alex M.
Arthur Rimbaud is my favorite poet and I was looking for a book with all his work. I was expecting it to be good. I was not expecting it to be THIS good.
The interventions elaborated by the author made it easier to understand the artistic evolution of he poet, his youth and influences. In the last period of his life Rimbaud gave up on poetry and the book is more a biography composed of letter, business plans, pain and sickness. (view spoiler)
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rimbaud is one of my favorite poets, though I am not entirely sure how this translation stacks up against others. The opening lines in "A Season in Hell" are melodious and enticing. Among the poems contained herein, some stand out more than others, but it is, overall, an excellent work.
Peter Landau
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another book I should have read 30 years ago and just getting to now, COMPLETE WORKS by Arthur Rimbaud does remind me of a book I did read back when I was younger. That book is the USA TRILOGY by John Dos Passos. It’s not the subject matter or even the prose style, but the structure by translator Paul Schmidt captures with a wide lens the life of the poet. The poetry is collected chronologically, each section opening with a short biographical sketch of events in Rimbaud’s life at that period ...more
Sam Fickling
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
My first reaction to reading the 'Complete Works' of Arthur Rimbaud was one of dual shock and admiration. Shock because I'd never read anything like it before, and admiration because of my awareness of how young he was when he wrote his best poems. Of course, these feelings soon became mixed with countless others, for it seems that as soon as one encounters Rimbaud the poet, one can never look back. This was Henry Miller's experience of him, and it was no doubt mine as well. Encountering Rimbaud ...more
J.M. Hushour
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always remarked, it's remarkable that Rimbaud wrote most of his poetry, almost all of it, in fact, before he was 20 years old, spending the rest of his life traveling the world and selling coffee. Which is even more incredible because he really is an outstanding poet, well ahead of his time and setting the groundwork for Surrealism and symbolism and all kinds of avant-garde crap. The puzzling thing is how, why? But that hardly matters, since we'll never know.
As for the poetry, it's brash and
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
It seems Fowlie sacrifices much of the music and intelligibility of the original for the sake of using the same punctuation and syntax as the author. Notes are not useful and there are quite a few typos in the French version of the text.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the most elegant way I can say it is, good shit.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It is probable that if you mentioned the name Arthur Rimbaud to an acquaintance, in most social circles, they likely wouldn't know who he was. Which is an apt scenario that would've received approval from the man himself, given that Rimbaud, regarded as one of the greatest poets to ever have lived, wrote most of his work before the age of 18 and quit entirely by 21.

Like most geniuses in the arts, it's difficult to know what he considered serious and what was a joke. There are poems in his body o
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So it turns out I've been quoting Arthur Rimbaud before I even knew who he was.
Rimbaud is another key writer in the origin story for lots of twentieth century writers and it's easy to see why. Like Baudelaire, Rimbaud is a key part of the transition from traditional to modernism.
I'm going to focus on A Season in Hell because - there's no competition - it's his greatest work and is basically the bible and everything after it is the extended edition. It reminded me of Inferno, it was Surreal bef
Michael A.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
reminds me of a puerile, playful Baudelaire. Seasons of Hell i think is where he develops his own unique sense of style - very good. The letters interspersed were almost as interesting as the poems themselves - especially his tumultuous relationship with Paul Verlaine. The last section that dealt purely with his business dealings in Abyssinia can safely be skipped over if you have interest only in his poetry and not his biography in general - not to mention his racism can get grating.
Jason Friedlander
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-desk
It took me forever to finally finish this because I found the last section to be too depressing to read through, yet it somehow makes it all the more beautifully mythic, despite the editor at one point candidly letting out— “Could he not simply have disappeared? Or died young?”

Essential reading and one I know I’ll be coming back to in the future, hopefully in French, if I can ever muster the competency for Rimbaud's gloriously dense and weathered verse.
BC Batcheshire
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I suppose I'll never tire of this perfect rebel or the purity of his abandon and passion. Still the ultimate poet, in my heart.
David M.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I'm far than fluent in French, the translation of this volume of Rimbaud's poetry is quite suspicious. Again, to be fair, this is my first reading of the poet's works, apart from a reading of "The Drunken Boat" in a World Literature class, but right from the start the translator engages in a pretension of the worst kind. "This is my Rimbaud", he openly admits, and while such an admission is probably intended to elicit the reader's complicity, the purple prose of the translator grates as ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The two days I couldn’t detach myself from Rimbaud’s writings felt like a waking fever dream, but a soft one. I’m hungry for more of his chaotic energy, and as that’s not possible, the next appropriate thing to do is emulate his behaviors, his visions, his swirling nights and a fevered pen, no?
I’d never read a line by Rimbaud before this. I’m struck, dizzy, wondering.

“When I was a child,
my vision was refined in certain skies;
my face is the product of every nuance.”
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French poet and adventurer, who stopped writing verse at the age of 19, and who 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. R ...more

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