|Birth Day:||October 20, 1854|
|Death Date:||Nov 10, 1891 (age 37)|
As per our current Database, Arthur Rimbaud died on Nov 10, 1891 (age 37).
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After studying with a tutor who encouraged him to write poetry, he published his first poem in 1870.
Rimbaud's father, a Burgundian of Provençal extraction, was an infantry captain who had risen from the ranks; he had spent much of his army career abroad. He participated in the conquest of Algeria from 1844 to 1850, and in 1854 was awarded the Legion of Honor "by Imperial decree". Captain Rimbaud was described as "good-tempered, easy-going and generous". with the long moustaches and goatee of a Chasseur officer.
Though the marriage lasted seven years, Captain Rimbaud lived continuously in the matrimonial home for less than three months, from February to May 1853. The rest of the time his military postings—including active service in the Crimean War and the Sardinian Campaign (with medals earned in both)—meant he returned home to Charleville only when on leave. He was not at home for his children's births, nor their baptisms. Isabelle's birth in 1860 must have been the last straw, as after this Captain Rimbaud stopped returning home on leave altogether. Though they never divorced, the separation was complete; thereafter Mme Rimbaud let herself be known as "widow Rimbaud" and Captain Rimbaud would describe himself as a widower. Neither the captain nor his children showed the slightest interest in re-establishing contact.
Fearing her children were being over-influenced by the neighbouring children of the poor, Mme Rimbaud moved her family to the Cours d'Orléans in 1862. This was a better neighbourhood, and the boys, now aged nine and eight, who had been taught at home by their mother, were now sent to the Pension Rossat, an old but well regarded school. Throughout the five years that they attended the school, however, their formidable mother still imposed her will upon them, pushing them for scholastic success. She would punish her sons by making them learn a hundred lines of Latin verse by heart, and further punish any mistakes by depriving them of meals. When Arthur was nine, he wrote a 700-word essay objecting to his having to learn Latin in school. Vigorously condemning a classical education as a mere gateway to a salaried position, he wrote repeatedly, "I will be a rentier". Arthur disliked schoolwork and resented his mother's constant supervision; the children were not allowed out of their mother's sight, and until they were fifteen and sixteen respectively, she would walk them home from school.
As a boy, Arthur Rimbaud was small and pale with light brown hair, and eyes that his lifelong best friend, Ernest Delahaye, described as "pale blue irradiated with dark blue—the loveliest eyes I've seen". An ardent Catholic like his mother, he had his First Communion when he was eleven. His piety earned him the schoolyard nickname "sale petit Cagot". That same year, he and his brother were sent to the Collège de Charleville. Up to then, his reading had been largely confined to the Bible, though he had also enjoyed fairy tales and adventure stories, such as the novels of James Fenimore Cooper and Gustave Aimard. At the Collège he became a highly successful student, heading his class in all subjects except mathematics and the sciences; his schoolmasters remarked upon his ability to absorb great quantities of material. He won eight first prizes in the French academic competitions in 1869, including the prize for Religious Education, and the following year won seven first prizes.
Two weeks later, a new teacher of rhetoric, the 22-year-old Georges Izambard, started at the Collège de Charleville. Izambard became Rimbaud's mentor, and soon a close friendship formed between teacher and student, with Rimbaud seeing Izambard as a kind of elder brother. At the age of 15, Rimbaud was showing maturity as a poet; the first poem he showed Izambard, "Ophélie", would later be included in anthologies, and is often regarded as one of Rimbaud's three or four best poems. On 4 May 1870, Rimbaud's mother wrote to Izambard to complain that he had given Rimbaud Victor Hugo's Les Misérables to read.
The Franco-Prussian War, between Napoleon III's Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, broke out on 19 July 1870. Five days later, Izambard left Charleville for the summer to stay with his three aunts – the Misses Gindre – in Douai. In the meantime, preparations for war continued and the Collège de Charleville became a military hospital. By the end of August, with the countryside in turmoil, Rimbaud was bored and restless. In search of adventure he ran away by train to Paris without funds for his ticket. On arrival at the Gare du Nord, he was arrested and locked up in Mazas Prison to await trial for fare evasion and vagrancy. On 5 September, Rimbaud wrote a desperate letter to Izambard, who arranged with the prison governor that Rimbaud be released into his care. As hostilities were continuing, he stayed with the Misses Gindre in Douai until he could be returned to Charleville. Izambard finally handed Rimbaud over to Mme Rimbaud on 27 September 1870 (his mother reportedly slapped him in the face and admonished Izambard), but he was at home for only ten days before running away again.
In May 1871, aged 16, Rimbaud wrote two letters explaining his poetic philosophy, commonly called the Lettres du voyant ("Letters of the Seer"). In the first, written 13 May to Izambard, Rimbaud explained:
Rimbaud and Verlaine soon began a brief and torrid affair. They led a wild, vagabond-like life spiced by absinthe, opium and hashish. The Parisian literary coterie was scandalized by Rimbaud, whose behaviour was that of the archetypal enfant terrible, yet throughout this period he continued to write poems. Their stormy relationship eventually brought them to London in September 1872, a period over which Rimbaud would later express regret. During this time, Verlaine abandoned his wife and infant son (both of whom he had abused in his alcoholic rages). In London they lived in considerable poverty in Bloomsbury and in Camden Town, scraping a living mostly from teaching, as well as with an allowance from Verlaine's mother. Rimbaud spent his days in the Reading Room of the British Museum where "heating, lighting, pens and ink were free". The relationship between the two poets grew increasingly bitter, and Verlaine abandoned Rimbaud in London to meet his wife in Brussels.
Rimbaud initially dismissed the wound as superficial but had it dressed at the St-Jean hospital nevertheless. He did not immediately file charges, but decided to leave Brussels. About 20:00, Verlaine and his mother accompanied Rimbaud to the Gare du Midi railway station. On the way, by Rimbaud's account, Verlaine "behaved as if he were insane". Fearing that Verlaine, with pistol in pocket, might shoot him again, Rimbaud "ran off" and "begged a policeman to arrest him". Verlaine was charged with attempted murder, then subjected to a humiliating medico-legal examination. He was also interrogated about his correspondence with Rimbaud and the nature of their relationship. The bullet was eventually removed on 17 July and Rimbaud withdrew his complaint. The charges were reduced to wounding with a firearm, and on 8 August 1873 Verlaine was sentenced to two years in prison.
In 1874, he returned to London with the poet Germain Nouveau. They lived together for three months while he put together his groundbreaking Illuminations, a collection of prose poems, although he eventually did not see it through publication (it only got published in 1886, without the author's knowledge).
Rimbaud and Verlaine met for the last time in March 1875, in Stuttgart, after Verlaine's release from prison and his conversion to Catholicism. By then Rimbaud had given up literature in favour of a steady, working life. Stéphane Mallarmé, in a text about Rimbaud from 1896 (after his death), described him as a "meteor, lit by no other reason than his presence, arising alone then vanishing" who had managed to "surgically remove poetry from himself while still alive". Albert Camus, in L'homme révolté, although he praised Rimbaud's literary works (particularly his later prose works, Une saison en enfer and Illuminations — "he is the poet of revolt, and the greatest"), wrote a scathing account of his resignation from literature — and revolt itself — in his later life, claiming that there is nothing to admire, nothing noble or even genuinely adventurous, in a man who committed a "spiritual suicide", became a "bourgeois traficker" and consented to the materialistic order of things.
After studying several languages (German, Italian, Spanish), he went on to travel extensively in Europe, mostly on foot. In May 1876 he enlisted as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army to get free passage to Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Four months later he deserted and fled into the jungle. He managed to return incognito to France by ship; as a deserter he would have faced a Dutch firing squad had he been caught.
In December 1878, Rimbaud journeyed to Larnaca in Cyprus, where he worked for a construction company as a stone quarry foreman. In May of the following year he had to leave Cyprus because of a fever, which on his return to France was diagnosed as typhoid.
Rimbaud finally settled in Aden, Yemen, in 1880, as a main employee in the Bardey agency, going on to run the firm's agency in Harar, Ethiopia. In 1884, his Report on the Ogaden (based on notes from his assistant Constantin Sotiro) was presented and published by the Société de Géographie in Paris. In the same year he left his job at Bardey's to become a merchant on his own account in Harar, where his commercial dealings included coffee and (generally outdated) firearms.
In 1885, Rimbaud became involved in a major deal to sell old rifles to Menelik II, king of Shewa, at the initiative of French merchant Pierre Labatut. The explorer Paul Soleillet became involved early in 1886. The arms were landed at Tadjoura in February, but could not be moved inland because Léonce Lagarde, governor of the new French administration of Obock and its dependencies, issued an order on 12 April 1886 prohibiting the sale of weapons. When the authorization came through from the consul de France, Labatut got ill and had to withdraw (he died from cancer soon afterward), then Soleillet died from embolism on 9 October. When Rimbaud finally reached Shewa, Menelik had just scored a major victory and no longer needed these older weapons, but still took advantage of the situation by negotiating them at a much lower price than expected, also deducting presumed debts from Labatut. The whole ordeal turned out to be a disaster.
In February 1891, in Aden, Rimbaud developed what he initially thought was arthritis in his right knee. It failed to respond to treatment, and by March had become so painful that he prepared to return to France for better treatment. Before leaving, Rimbaud consulted a British doctor who mistakenly diagnosed tubercular synovitis, and recommended immediate amputation. Rimbaud remained in Aden until 7 May to set his financial affairs in order, then caught a steamer, L'Amazone, back to France for a 13-day voyage. On arrival in Marseille, he was admitted to the Hôpital de la Conception where, a week later on 27 May, his right leg was amputated. The post-operative diagnosis was bone cancer—probably osteosarcoma.
After a short stay at the family farm in Roche, from 23 July to 23 August, he attempted to travel back to Africa, but on the way his health deteriorated, and he was re-admitted to the Hôpital de la Conception in Marseille. He spent some time there in great pain, attended by his sister Isabelle. He received the last rites from a priest before dying on 10 November 1891, at the age of 37. The remains were sent across France to his home town and he was buried in Charleville-Mézières. On the 100th anniversary of Rimbaud's birth, Thomas Bernhard delivered a memorial lecture on Rimbaud and described his end:
Rimbaud was a prolific correspondent and his letters provide vivid accounts of his life and relationships. "Rimbaud's letters concerning his literary life were first published by various periodicals. In 1931 they were collected and published by Jean-Marie Carré. Many errors were corrected in the  Pléiade edition. The letters written in Africa were first published by Paterne Berrichon, the poet's brother-in-law, who took the liberty of making many changes in the texts."
Also from 1975, in Patti Smith's album Horses, the song "Land" refers to Rimbaud by name.
In the 1981 Brazilian film Eu Te Amo Sonia Braga's character is a young woman who has a degree in art history. She tells her lover, Paulo, about her degree and that Arthur Rimbaud was "a fag who threw shit on the wall and wrote poetry".
Rimbaud's life has been portrayed in several films. Italian filmmaker Nelo Risi's film Una stagione all'inferno (1971) ("A Season in Hell") starred Terence Stamp as Rimbaud and Jean-Claude Brialy as Paul Verlaine. Rimbaud is mentioned in the cult film Eddie and the Cruisers (1983), along with the storyline that the group's second album was entitled A Season in Hell. In 1995, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland directed Total Eclipse, which was based on a play by Christopher Hampton who also wrote the screenplay; the film starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Rimbaud and David Thewlis as Paul Verlaine.
In 2012, composer John Zorn released a CD titled Rimbaud, featuring four compositions inspired by Rimbaud's work—'"Bateau Ivre" (a chamber octet), "A Season in Hell" (electronic music), "Illuminations" (piano, bass and drums), and Conneries (featuring Mathieu Amalric reading from Rimbaud's work). Rimbaud is also mentioned in the CocoRosie song "Terrible Angels", from their album La maison de mon rêve (2004). In his 1939 composition Les Illuminations British composer Benjamin Britten set selections of Rimbaud's work of the same name to music for soprano or tenor soloist and string orchestra. Hans Werner Henze set one of the poems in Illuminations, "Being Beauteous", as a cantata for coloratura soprano, harp and four cellos in 1963.
Currently, Arthur Rimbaud is 167 years, 8 months and 6 days old. Arthur Rimbaud will celebrate 168th birthday on a Thursday 20th of October 2022.
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