'From Ennui to Extinction in Rimbaud's 'Nocturne vulgaire''

Gerald M Macklin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article examines in deatil Rimbaud's poem 'Nocturne vulgaire' from the collection the Illuminations. The paper concerns itself with the structural development of the poem, tracing its evolution from a failed imaginative journey of the self to a more satisfying one. Essentially, the study argues that the text reinvents itself and ultimately represents not one poem , but two - a phenomenon seen passim in the Illuminations. 'Métropolitain', 'Angoisse', 'Dévotion' and 'Soir historique' all illustrate this patterning. Close reference is made to how 'Nocturne vulgaire' adopts and deviates from Alfred de Vigny's poem 'La Maison du berger'. The paper focuses on the dramatic finale in the poem, the use of elemental imagery and the idea of catastrophe. Finally, the article considers the indebtedness of the piece to both music and painting and asks in what ways the Rimbaldian nocturne redefines these sources of inspiration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-254
    JournalOrbis Litterarum
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • prose poem
    • journey
    • finale
    • catastrophe
    • nocturne


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