Other books byArthur Rimbaud
The modernist masterpiece that is Arthur Rimbaud’s Illuminations has been given new life with the publication of John Ashbery’s “dazzling” (The Economist) new translation, widely hailed as one of the literary events of the year. Presented with French text in parallel and a preface by its translator, Ashbery’s rendering powerfully evokes the glittering, kaleidoscopic beauty of the original
A Season in Hell
Using immediate vernacular that gives modern readers all the heady brilliance of Rimbaud's rebelliousness, this new translation contains the last poems written by one of the most influential poets before he abandoned poetry at the age of 20. Revell's essay, Outrageous Innocence, Innocence Outraged,” is offered as postscript, revealing the story of Rimbaudhis wildly creative youth, his years of breaking with traditional morality and decorum, his fame as the genius of French letters, and his early death. Analysis places these poems in the larger historical narrative of the literature of rebellious youth that has molded much of contemporary culture. Published with the original French version on facing pages, this translation will offer many the pleasure of reading this wild-child, long remembered as one of the masters of French poetry.
I Promise to Be Good
The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud
One of the most written-about literary figures in the past decade, Arthur Rimbaud left few traces when he abandoned poetry at age twenty-one and disappeared into the African desert. Although the dozen biographies devoted to Rimbaud’s life depend on one main source for information—his own correspondence—a complete edition of these remarkable letters has never been published in English. Until now. A moving document of decline, Rimbaud’s letters begin with the enthusiastic artistic pronouncements of a fifteen-year-old genius, and end with the bitter what-ifs of a man whose life has slipped disastrously away. But whether soapboxing on the essence of art, or struggling under the yoke of self-imposed exile in the desert of his later years, Rimbaud was incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence. As translator and editor Wyatt Mason makes clear in his engaging Introduction, the letters reveal a Rimbaud very different from our expectations. Rimbaud—presented by many biographers as a bohemian wild man—is unveiled as “diligent in his pursuit of his goals . . . wildly, soberly ambitious, in poetry, in everything.” I Promise to Be Good: The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud is the second and final volume in Mason’s authoritative presentation of Rimbaud’s writings. Called by Edward Hirsch “the definitive translation for our time,” Mason’s first volume, Rimbaud Complete (Modern Library, 2002), brought Rimbaud’s poetry and prose into vivid focus. In I Promise to Be Good, Mason adds the missing epistolary pieces to our picture of Rimbaud. “These letters,” he writes, “are proofs in all their variety—of impudence and precocity, of tenderness and rage—for the existence of Arthur Rimbaud.” I Promise to Be Good allows English-language readers to see with new eyes one of the most extraordinary poets in history. From the Hardcover edition.
With perfect pitch for contemporary audiences, this new translation offers all the immediacy, hallucinatory surrealism, and wit that secured Arthur Rimbaud's esteemed position. As a major poet renowned for his strangely seductive power and innocence, Rimbaud was a dangerous and exhilarating force whose break with literary forms and conventions is aptly displayed in this volume. Published with the French on facing pages and an insightful afterword, this compilation plunges into the heart of Rimbaud's mysterious, revelatory beauty. This is a lucid and lively translation of a seminal work that remains essential and relevant to this day.