Rimbaud has ratings and 45 reviews. Eddie said: There will never be a single biography that does Rimbaud total justice, and that’s as it should be be. ‘Robb has written a great biography – scholarly, humane and above all marvelously Graham Robb’s brilliant biography moves Rimbaud on from his perpetual. In this robust biography, Robb (Balzac; Victor Hugo) contemplates the life of Arthur Rimbaud () as if the French poet/ vagabond’s deeds were those of.

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Graham Robb does well in clearing away the myths and falsities that have accrued around Rimbaud’s mysterious, wandering life. Feels like reading a mystery, so little is known of Rimbaud’s life. View all 7 comments. As he grew, he departed more and more from forms and traditions – his words wandered further and further out. Aug 31, Sonia rated it really liked it.

To read these pages is truly to go back in time to walk the boulevards of 19th century Paris with Rimbaud and Verlaine.

But it’s to the author’s credit that he provides a complete, unsentimental account of Rimbaud’s life, an account that implies that the wildness and revolutionary posturing of Rimbaud in his youth wasn’t unsustainable. By the age of sixteen the little prodigy, l’enfant terrible of French literary Avant-garde, had taken Paris by storm with his unpredictable, despicable behavior and his unparalleled genius.

As Graham Robb comments in the introduction to this new biography: During his lifetime he was a bourgeois-baiting visionary, and the list of his known crimes is longer than the list of his published poems.

Observer review: Rimbaud by Graham Robb | Books | The Guardian

Reading this biography along side the poetry was especially gratifying. At some point in his late adolescence he enters a third phase of his life – most effectively presented in Nicholls, “Somebody Else”.


Rimbaud’s story remains utterly incredible. However, I do think that Rimbaud had the ability to play many different roles as it suited his needs. Disease and the unimaginable suffering he endured in his last months turned him into somebody else altogether – but that person wasn’t AR.

Again, this would be okay, except that most of the history section is spent “correcting” what Robb feels are falsehoods rather than just telling the story of Rimbaud’s life. He has the right qualifications; he sees how fine the poetry is and how loathsome Rimbaud must have been.

There is evidence, though it is hotly disputed, that he was, briefly, a slave-trader. But cast incredulity aside: He too divined the kind of casual disdain that makes for legend, imagining Rimbaud’s utter indifference to his growing fame, condescending only to pass through Paris should he ever return to collect his royalties. And I think he struggled between his disdain for man for not being able to ascend to his level of forward thinking and chose the life of a loner, a life of mystery, a life in which it always seemed he was looking down on everyone from a lofty height.

This is an excellent and thorough biography. Apr 21, John rated it really liked it Shelves: My only complaint with this mostly well-designed book is the abysmal quality of the photographs, which look like copies made from copies on a cheap office machine. Arthur was a beat poet long before Ginsberg and Kerouac, an artistic soul til he died, although he no longer wrote poetry, his letters were florid, and he had a keen eye for photography.

Review: Rimbaud by Graham Robb | Books | The Guardian

In some cases, based on evidence, he differs from Starkie; in at least one other case, again based on assiduous research, he defends Starkie on a point on which others have sharply disagreed with her. This is a frustration when Robb talks about them in the text. But then, that’s my problem, not Robb’s, apparently.


He disappeared for weeks and months at a time, sleeping rough and leaving no fraham.

Dirty deeds at the Dead Rat

A great biography is an achievement, rimnaud when the gifted, wry, and far-seeing Robb meets the combustible Rimbaud, it’s straight-up bliss for the reader.

He has published widely in nineteenth-century French literature and his highly acclaimed adaptation of Claude Pichois and Jean Ziegler’s biography of “Baudelaire” appeared in A poem by Malcolm Lowry consists entirely of an enumeration of Rimbaud’s identities, donned and doffed with bewildering rapidity and Olympian indifference.

He was always riding the wave of the Present Tense or even ahead of it, in the never-attained Future as long as he lived, full of contradictions only to those who want ed to figure him out. Perhaps the greatest deterrent to writing the life of Rimbaud is what the subject himself would have made of the whole enterprise.

Eimbaud it is precisely that typecasting that I think Rimbaud spent the remainder of his life trying to desert.

His previous biographical and academic work has prepared him for this task. Plenty of people can do exhaustive research, but few who have the persistence and patience for that work also have the talent, the flair, for turning the facts unearthed into an endlessly fascinating story such as this.

Apr 14, J. Graham Robb’s biography, as I expected after reading Strangers last summer, is superb.

Then he died fr 3star more for the subject matter than the writing. A challenge to any prospective biographer; there have been many.