Short biography of Arthur Rimbaud and quotes

Here is a short biography of Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), rightly called the cursed poet, as you will discover.

Arthur Rimbaud was born in Charleville in 1854. His parents separated when he was only six years old. His military father remained absent, while his mother educated her children with rigor.

The college where he studied opened the way to poetry, for which he proved to be very gifted. His rhetoric teacher Georges Izambard encourages his gifts.

Rimbaud then became passionate about a French literary movement, the Parnasse, which promoted art for art’s sake, the poem for its only beauty, well embodied by Baudelaire. Rimbaud sent three poems to Banville, representative of the Parnassian movement, who did not follow up the letter.

His poetic creations were inspired by love feelings, satires of the bourgeoisie and the church, and wars: He criticized Bonapartism and wrote Le Dormeur du Val while the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 was raging.

A good student, Rimbaud started to run away from school, and even ran away to Paris in 1871. Back in Charleville, the proclamation of the Commune pushed Rimbaud to give all its importance to the visionary character of the poet. Rimbaud recommends reaching it by “the long, immense and reasoned disruption of all the senses”.

Rimbaud still composes until he meets Paul Verlaine, whom he admires. In Paris where he joined him, after having produced his new masterpiece The Drunken Boat, the two authors started a relationship despite Paul Verlaine’s marriage.

Rimbaud went back to Charleville, then left with Paul Verlaine to Belgium, then to the English capital London. After conflicts and a return to Brussels, Verlaine shot a revolver against Rimbaud, an act for which he was imprisoned. Rimbaud published A Season in Hell in clandestinity shortly after.

Rimbaud then wandered all over Europe, seeming to have abandoned art and literature: Stuttgart (where he saw Verlaine again), Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Cyprus, then in the ports of the Red Sea, Japan, East Africa, Cairo. There he lived on simple jobs, as a counter agent, delivering guns, haunted by what he considered a dark destiny, which he had to live through until his distant rest.

A knee injury forced him to return to France, where he had his leg amputated in Marseille. He died at the Saint-Jean hospital of a generalized cancer on November 10, 1891, his sister at his bedside.

Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud’s poems

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A black, E white, I read, U green, O blue, vowels,
I will say some day your latent births.

“Vowels,” in Complete Poems –  Quote by Arthur Rimbaud

One is not serious when one is seventeen years old
And that one has green-lime trees on the walk.

“Roman,” in Complete poems –  Quote source: Arthur Rimbaud

I was going away, my fists in my empty pockets;
My cloak also became an ideal;
I went under the sky, Muse! and I was your fear.

“Ma bohème,” in Complete poems –  Quote source: Arthur Rimbaud

I am the slave of my baptism. Parents, you made my misfortune and you made yours.

A Season in Hell, Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud, July 1873

I do not like women. Love is to be reinvented.

A Season in Hell, Quote by Arthur Rimbaud, July 1873

Morality is the weakness of the brain. Acquired without any reflection, it imprints itself in us at our expense. It is a danger if it is not attenuated by the reasonable thought.

A Season in Hell, Quotes from Arthur Rimbaud, July 1873

One must be absolutely modern.

A Season in Hell, Quote by Arthur Rimbaud, July 1873

I am another.

From one of the letters to George’s Izambard (May 13, 1871) – Quote source: Arthur Rimbaud

Short chronology of Arthur Rimbaud’s biography

October 20, 1854: Birth of Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud in Charleville.

1869: Rimbaud entered the rhetoric class.

1870: Publication in the “Revue pour tous” of the “Etrennes des orphelins”. The teacher Georges Izambard arrived in Rimbaud’s school.

May 24, 1870: Rimbaud sent to Théodore de Banville three poems, which he hoped to see published in the contemporary Parnasse.

August 1870: Runaway in Paris.

September 4, 1870: End of the Second Empire.

February-March 1871: Rimbaud again in Paris.

May 13 and 15, 1871: Explains his conception of the visionary poet to Georges Izambard and Paul Demeny.

1873: Verlaine arrived in Brussels where Rimbaud joined him. On July 13, Verlaine shot him, wounding him. Rimbaud left for Roche.

October 1873: A Season in Hell was printed. Unable to pay his printer, Rimbaud gave up the edition of the book.

1875: Death of Rimbaud’s sister: Vitalie.

1876: After Vienna, Rimbaud went to Holland where he joined the Dutch colonial army.

1880: Stays in Cyprus, Alexandria, then Aden. In a trading house, he is assigned to the branch of Harar (Ethiopia)

1886: Drove a caravan of arms for Menelik, King of Choa. In Paris, La Vogue published Rimbaud’s work “Illuminations”.

1888 to 1891: Rimbaud managed a factory.

May 22, 1891: Rimbaud had his leg amputated in Marseille Hospital.

November 10, 1891: Rimbaud died in Marseille after a trip to Roche.

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20 thoughts on “Short biography of Arthur Rimbaud and quotes

  1. It’s the first time I’ve been to this site and I don’t regret it very quickly and simply it’s a short biography that sums up his life well. finally a short and complete biography. The icing on the cake there photo. I find this biography complete. I hope to have a good mark in French.

    1. Rimbaud’s parents never divorced and satire takes an “i” not a “y” otherwise it doesn’t have the same meaning. I am appalled to read such errors on a science po site.

  2. hello everyone I just wanted to know if rimbaud had several sisters because it is mentioned that his sister accompanies him at his bedside but above, it is written that this one died in 1875

  3. I have an exhibit on Rimbaud and thanks to this site I’m going to get a good grade I think! 😉

  4. Thank you so much thanks to CETE biogrpahie I got a good grade in French thank you he ❤❤

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