"One evening I took Beauty in my arms - and I thought
her bitter - and I insulted her."
from "A Season In Hell"
Rimbaud was born October 20, 1854 at Charleville in France. His
father abandoned the family, forcing them into poverty. Youn Arthur
would sneak out to play with the other children in his impoverished
neighborhood, much to his mother's chagrin. She was horrified that
such contact would coarsen her children and she somehow found the
means to move the family from the worst to the best neighborhood.
Even here, Rimbaud was forbidden to play with other boys and instead
threw himself into his studies. His hunger to learn soon proved
him to be an extremely gifted student. In 1870, Rimbaud ran away
from home. He was restless and unhappy due to the loss of his favorite
teacher who had gone to fight in the Franco-Prussian war. Finally
making it to Paris, broke, he lived on the streets. Living willingly
in the worst possible conditions, this was his rebellion. He denounced
women and the church and began studying "immoral" poets
and devouring writings
every topic from occult to philosophy. In
1871, Rimbaud met Paul Verlaine, a man 20 years older than himself,
and the two began a rather outrageous affair.
Rimbaud eventually alienated everyone through his addiction and
lack of general hygiene... everyone but Paul Verlain.In 1872, the
pair relocated to London. By 1873, Verlain's and Rimbaud's relationship
was treading on thin ice, and in a drunken argument in Brussels,
Verlaine took to shooting at Arthur, hitting him once in the wrist.
Rimbaud called in the police and Verlain was sentenced to an 18
month prison vacation. Between the feelings of exhiliration and
guilt that Rimbaud felt due to this situation, he began writing
in a fury, completing perhaps his best known work, "A
Season in Hell". By the age of 20, Rimbaud had quit
writing and wandered Europe, eventually going to ground in Africa
where he worked as a trader and a gun runner. In 1891, Rimbaud returned
to Marsailles, ill, and his right leg was removed due to syphilitic
complications. He was nursed bye his sister, Isabelle until his
death on November 10, 1891 at the age of 37.