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Arthur Rimbaud Documentary

It’s the life of the great French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, in a 10 minute slideshow. The video traces the arc of Rimbaud’s short life (1854–1891), stitching together images from 19th century France, photos taken by Rimbaud himself, and manuscripts scribbled by the poet. In the background, Joan Baez reads lines from Rimbaud’s famous collection,Illuminations, which appears in the Poetry section of our Free Audio Books collection. Project Gutenberg also makes his complete works available in French. Download the free e-text right here.

from Open Culture | Rimbaud:  A Life in Slideshow


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Rimbaud Movement


The movement of lace at the brink of the weir,

The gulf at the stern,

The swiftness of slope,

The vast sway of the current

Draw the voyager through extraordinary lights

And chemical change

Surrounded by waters of the vale

And the strom.


These are the conquerors of the world

Seeking their personal chemical fortunes;

Amusement and comfort travel with them;

They carry the education

Of races, classes and creatures, on this vessel

Repose and vertigo

In the diluvial light,

In terrible nights of study.


For from the conversation among the equipment, the blood, the flowers, the fire, the gems,

The anxious calculations on the fleeing deck,

– One sees, rolling by like a dyke beyond the hydraulically-powered road,

Monstrous, illuminating endlessly – their store of studies;

Driven themselves into harmonious ecstasy,

And the heroism of discovery.

Among the most surprising atmospheric events,

A young couple hold aloof on the ark,

– Is it a pardonable primitive shyness? –

And sing and stand guard.


Photo by Bertrand Eberhard

Trans by A.S. Kline


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