Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud's Surrealist Writing

French Writer Known for His Visionary Poetry

Arthur Rimbaud, French poet and adventurer, 1870.

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Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854 -1891) was a French writer and poet, best known for his surrealist writings, including Le Bateau Ivre (), Soleil et Chair (Sun and Flesh) and Saison d'Enfer (Season in Hell). He published his first poem at the age of 16, but stopped writing altogether by the age of 21.

Rimbaud's writings contain references to the bohemian lifestyle he led when he lived in Paris, including his scandalous affair with the married poet Paul Verlaine. After several years of on-again, off-again, their relationship ended with Verlaine in jail for shooting Rimbaud in the wrist. It seems Rimbaud earned the nickname "l'enfant terrible" which was bestowed on him by Paris society. Despite the turmoil and drama of his personal life, Rimbaud continued to write insightful, visionary poems that belied his young age during his time in Paris.

After he abruptly ended his career as a poet, for reasons which are still unclear, Rimbaud traveled the world, traveling to England, Germany and Italy, then enlisted in and deserted the Dutch army. His travels took him to Vienna, then to Egypt and Cyprus, Ethiopia and Yemen, becoming one of the first Europeans to visit that country.

Verlaine edited and published Rimbaud's Poesies completes after Rimbaud's death from cancer.

Although he only wrote for a brief period, Rimbaud has been a significant influence on French modern literature and art, as he strove through his writing to create an entirely new kind of creative language.

Here are a few quotes from the translated work of Arthur Rimbaud:

"And again: No more gods! No more gods! Man is King, Man is God! - But the great Faith is Love!"

Soleil et Chair (1870)

"But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking. Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter."

Le Bateau Ivre (1871)

"I am the slave of my baptism. Parents, you have caused my misfortune, and you have caused your own."

Saison d'Enfer, Nuit de l'Enfer (1874)

"Idle youth, enslaved to everything; by being too sensitive I have wasted my life."

Song of the Highest Tower (1872)

"Life is the farce which everyone has to perform."

Saison en Enfer, Mauvais Sang

"One evening I sat Beauty on my knees - And I found her bitter - And I reviled her."

Saison en Enfer, prologue.

"Only divine love bestows the keys of knowledge."

Une Saison en Enfer, Mauvais Sang

"The Sun, the hearth of affection and life, pours burning love on the delighted earth."

Soleil et Chair

"What a life! True life is elsewhere. We are not in the world."

Une Saison en Enfer: Nuit de L’Enfer

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Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud's Surrealist Writing." ThoughtCo, Nov. 3, 2020, thoughtco.com/quotes-from-arthur-rimbauds-surrealist-writing-741234. Lombardi, Esther. (2020, November 3). Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud's Surrealist Writing. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/quotes-from-arthur-rimbauds-surrealist-writing-741234 Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud's Surrealist Writing." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/quotes-from-arthur-rimbauds-surrealist-writing-741234 (accessed June 8, 2023).