Rimbaud’s Wise Music

Some associations with the name Rimbaud are very familiar: the highly romantic photograph taken a few months after he first settled in Paris, already at 17 the dedicatedly bohemian artist, with his pale blue eyes, distant gaze, thatch of hair, carelessly rumpled clothes; the startling, much interpreted declaration Je est un autre (“I is someone else”); the fact that he produced a masterly, innovative and influential body of poetry while still in his teens; that he stopped writing around age 21 and never went back to it, engaging thereafter in various sometimes mysterious commercial and mystical enterprises in exotic locations, including a period of gun-­running in Africa (and, oddly, an attempt to enlist in the United States Navy).


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