1854-91, French poet
His Father abandoned the family when Arthur was young. He was a good student in school, reading widely. Among his favorite authors was Charles Baudelaire
who he describes as "the first visionary, the king of poets, and a true god." He is particularly taken with Fleurs de Mal
(Flowers of Evil).
He ran away from home and began writing his own poetry. Some of which he sent to Paul Verlaine
, then living in Paris. Verlaine invited him to Bohemian Paris. When Arthur obliged, the other members of the Literary scene rejected him as an arrogant drunk. The two began an affair which was on and off for the next several years.
His hallucinatory, L'absinth inspired, dreamlike verse anticipated the Symbolist movement. Works include "The Drunken Boat", Illuminations, prose poems, free verse and a confessional autobiography, "A Season in Hell".
After a close and violent relationship with Paul Verlaine (1872-73), Rimbaud stopped writing poetry at age 19 and thereafter wandered through Europe and Africa. He became a mercenary in Java, ultimately deserting his unit.
He was friends with Ernest Delahaye.
Kostelanetz, Richard, "Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes", Schirmer Books, New York, 2000
Last Updated 02.18.03