In this interpretative analysis of the poetry of Rimbaud, Robert Greer Cohn first introduces the reader to the work of Rimbaud and outlines the poet's precocious, meteoric career. He then integrates the various aspects of the poetry into a coherent view, one which avoids a tendentious or reductive approach and does not fit some of the poems into a system and omit the rest. The early poems are given their due importance, and the difficult Illuminations are at last made accessible.
This will be the standard book on the subject, one which will long be read and consulted by teachers and students of Rimbaud's poetry. It provides analyses of key passages of the poems, with detailed clarifications of difficult lines and even words. The author reaches many sound fresh conclusions, often by confronting resistant passages with similar ones from other works or with the work of other poets close to him in spirit.
This is an intelligent and serious book which faces the direct beauty of the text and tries with honesty to explain all the difficulties while further enhancing the reader's sense of mystery.
Originally published in 1974.
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