[Arthur Rimbaud: Presence of an Enigma] E–pub Ñ Jean–Luc Steinmetz
Fer to nothing specific For example he writes p #169 a certain pledge to existence would later unravel on a bed in Marseilles burned out rom an overdose # a certain pledge to existence would later unravel on a bed in Marseilles burned out rom an overdose the absolute What is the absolute How much of it constitutes an overdose And "By The Way How Does One Imbibe "the way how does one imbibe particular uantity Then this theme disappears Still Life with Chickens from Steinmetz s pages Then there s this annoyance p 222 after this time Rimbaud no longer believes in literature Heorsakes this practice or other effective ones that permit him to be absolutely modern S attaches no reference to this uote It escapes me altogether how any competent biographer of AR could even begin to think that this man would ever ormulate andor adopt a set of conventions to which one could attach a label as obligatory standards of behavior And again p 225 Now here is Rimbaud the realist who wishes to go to Greece with the hope of Paradox Bound finding a modern kind of job making soapor example Is the making of soap one of mankind s recent achievements From that point the word modern does not appear again in Steinmetz s bio Then there s Rimbaud in his own created image without so much as one word of rationale or his that AR ormulated and projected a concept of self and then proceeded to make life decisions to behave as if that imageconcept were some sort of standard to which he had to conform Non sense Then there s this It is difficult to determine his true nature p 346 the real Rimbaud Rimabud s identity remains a secret p 348 uite as if self and identify were ixed entities to which one might attach specific attributes as if one might measure the atomic weight of one molecule of identity and the real selfMost annoying of all however is the book s subtitle Presence of an Enigma Steinmetz appears to use enigma in two senses one of which is dubious at best In certain passages he associates enigma with his assessment of the. Rmy relationship with the poet Paul Verlaine and his bohemian existence in Paris and London to his life as a wandering trader in Arabia and Yeme. State of biographical information regarding one event or another in AR s "Life Referring Specifically To "referring specifically to in the record That absence characterizes our knowledge of AR s biography the uncertainties that inhere in any conclusions we draw rom the incomplete and often conflicting unclear conflicting information in the collection that remains to us #I CAN T THINK HOW GAPS IN THE RECORD # can t think how gaps in the record AR enigmatic at all The state of our knowledge is not an attribute of AR In other passages Steinmetz uses enigmatic to characterize desires drives in AR that would remain inexplicable even if we were completely informed if the record were entirely complete Yet Steinmetz doesn t give reasons or his characterization Enigmatic or whom Why enigmatic What exactly places a reasonably certain understanding of AR and the trajectory of his life beyond our grasp Steinmetz doesn t say He simply lets the word dangle I have no patience whatever with this sort of parlor gameSo what am I left with Much clearer images of certain places circumstances and events in AR s life than either Robb or Nicholls enabled Not much else except or the laugh at myself that I laughed at being taken in by that notorious publisher s ploy an intriguing but ultimately vacuous subtitle In high school my avorite Po tes maudits were Baudelaire and Mayakovsky The whole Rimbaud cult brushed me "only lightly as a teenager an edition of his complete works was one of but two books I brought on "lightly as a teenager an edition of his complete works was one of but two books I brought on trip to Russia and I immediately regretted packing it To make matters worse the alternative was As I Lay Dying an kitschy piece of ersatz Joyce that blasted my budding Faulkner veneration I would ondle editions of Nabokov in the bookstores wishing I could read them I was inally reduced to a borrowed appropriately backpack battered copy of The Dharma Bums There are not many who can drive me into the arms of Jack Keroua. N Jean Luc Steinmetz delivers a biography which seeks to bring out the spiritual and logical continuity of Rimbaud's life long pursuit of desire. His words even in translation are astouding He influened French poetry and it s not been the same since Tom Disclaimer I have not posted a review of this book I have posted a ew comments uite as if I were entering certain of my responses into a reading journalThis is the third bio of AR that I ve read in the last two or three months uite enough or the present I would say I ind it interesting however how differently I read this particular volume "It seems to me at this moment that while I read Robb "seems to me at this moment that while I read Robb Nicholls on AR I was acuiring information and Mexican Hooker formulating my own sense of AR and attempting to sketch a trajectory of his liferom the bits of evidence and the results of rather inconclusive analyses and interpretations that these biographers presented As I read Steinmetz "i The League for the Suppression of Celery found myself lookingor information interpretations in "found myself looking or information interpretations in narrative that enhanced amplified confirmed amended refuted etc my ideas
the trajectory of AR s life and the sources the energy and drive that propelled his life along that trajectory So it seems to me that I was better prepared to grapple with Steinmetz s account than I had been heretoforeSo what did I ind Not very much of interest I m sorry to say The great virtue of Steinmetz s narrative is the Suspicion at Seven: A Lois Meade Mystery force and clarity of certain of his descriptions of events and circumstances of AR s life For example his pages on the months and days of AR s last illness are riveting and horrifying I have no idea why AR consented to endure theinal stages of terminal bone cancer But he didNonetheless my impression is that Steinmetz offered me nothing that served either to enhance or correct my understanding either of the man or his life Steinmetz indulged a habit that I ind highly annoying He drops here and there altogether vacuous phrases or which he offers not the The Day Fidel Died first word of explanation and then abandons themor other words that re. The life of Arthur Rimbaud a man who gave up literature at the age of 25 remains as legendary as his poetic work From his irst writings his sto.
Of The Trajectory Of AR S Life And The Sources