Arthur Rimbaud was one of the wildest, most uncompromising poets of his age, although his brief literary career was over by the time he was twenty-one when he embarked on a new life as a trader in Africa. This edition brings together his extraordinary poetry and more than a hundred of his letters, most of them written after he had abandoned literature. A master of French verse forms, the young Rimbaud set out to transform his art, and language itself, by a systematic “disordering of all the senses,” often with the aid of alcohol and drugs. The result is a highly innovative, modern body of work, obscene and lyrical by turns—a rigorous journey to extremes.
Jeremy Harding and John Sturrock’s new translation includes Rimbaud’s greatest verse, as well as his record of youthful torment, A Season in Hell (1873), and more than 100 letters that unveil the man who turned his back on poetry. The French text of the poems appears on pages facing the English translations, and John Sturrock’s introduction examines Rimbaud’s two very different careers.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.