'Rimbaud's 'Barbare': The Floating and Reverberating Text'

Gerald Macklin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The article sets out to explore the semantic and linguistic properties of 'Barbare', generally agreed to be one of Rimbaud's most inaccessible poems and one of the most controversial of the Illuminations among Rimbaud scholars. It posits the dual structuring principles of reverberation and the floating fragment as central to the composition of the poem. After a résumé of previous critical readings (Osmond, Little, Hackett, Wing and others), the paper argues that through its innovative use of punctuation, its emphasis on the substantive over the verb and its internal musicality, 'Barbare' emerges as a key example of the Rimbaldian experimentation with the prose poem. A close reading of the text is undertaken in order to vindicate this evaluation and to highlight certain other important features. In the course of the analysis attention is paid to the sexual code possibly contained in the poem, to the piece's concluding line as an illustration of Rimbaud's predilection for the disorientating finale, to patterns of elemental imagery encountered in the text and to the insights provided into 'Barbare' by the work of Atle Kittang and Paule Lapeyre. The paper concludes that 'Barbare' is very representative of rRmbaud's desire for upheaval both visionary and linguistic.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages41-52
    JournalNeophilologus
    Volume80
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

    Fingerprint

    floating
    linguistics
    semantics
    evaluation
    Poem

    Keywords

    • strutcure
    • prose poem
    • punctuation
    • fragment
    • finale

    Cite this

    Macklin, Gerald. / 'Rimbaud's 'Barbare': The Floating and Reverberating Text'. In: Neophilologus. 1996 ; Vol. 80. pp. 41-52.
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    abstract = "The article sets out to explore the semantic and linguistic properties of 'Barbare', generally agreed to be one of Rimbaud's most inaccessible poems and one of the most controversial of the Illuminations among Rimbaud scholars. It posits the dual structuring principles of reverberation and the floating fragment as central to the composition of the poem. After a r{\'e}sum{\'e} of previous critical readings (Osmond, Little, Hackett, Wing and others), the paper argues that through its innovative use of punctuation, its emphasis on the substantive over the verb and its internal musicality, 'Barbare' emerges as a key example of the Rimbaldian experimentation with the prose poem. A close reading of the text is undertaken in order to vindicate this evaluation and to highlight certain other important features. In the course of the analysis attention is paid to the sexual code possibly contained in the poem, to the piece's concluding line as an illustration of Rimbaud's predilection for the disorientating finale, to patterns of elemental imagery encountered in the text and to the insights provided into 'Barbare' by the work of Atle Kittang and Paule Lapeyre. The paper concludes that 'Barbare' is very representative of rRmbaud's desire for upheaval both visionary and linguistic.",
    keywords = "strutcure, prose poem, punctuation, fragment, finale",
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    note = "Reference text: Rimbaud Oeuvres, {\'e}dition de S.Bernard et A.Guyaux, Classiques Garnier, Paris, 1987 Arthur Rimbaud Illuminations, edited by Nick Osmond, Athlone French Poets, The Athlone Press, London, 1976 R.Little Rimbaud, Illuminations, Critical Guides to French Texts, no.29, Grant and Cutler, London, 1983 C.A.Hackett Rimbaud: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981 J-P Richard Po{\'e}sie et profondeur, Seuil, Paris, 1955 C.Zissmann Ce que r{\'e}v{\`e}le le manuscrit des Illuminations, Le bossu Bitor, Paris, 1989 N.Wing Present Appearances: Aspects of Poetic Structure in Rimbaud's Illuminations, Romance Monographs Inc., University, Mississippi, 1974 G.Macklin 'Aspects of the Rimbaldian Prose Poem: Pattern and Disorder in the Illuminations', ORBIS LITTERARUM, vol.45, 1990, pp. 248-272 G>Macklin 'A Study of Beginnings and finales in Arthur Rimbaud's Illuminations', NEOPHILOLOGUS, vol. 68, 1984, pp.22-36 A.Guyaux Po{\'e}tique du fragment. Essai sur les Illuminations de Rimbaud, Editions de la Baconni{\`e}re, Neuch{\^a}tel, 1985 G.Macklin 'Perspectives on the role of punctuation in Rimbaud's illuminations', JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES, vol.XX, 1990, pp. 59-72 P.Broome 'From Vision to Catastrophe in Rimbaud's Illuminations', FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES, vol. 15, no.4, October 1979, pp.361-379 A.Kittang Discours et Jeu.Essai d'analyse des textes d'Arthur Rimbaud, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, Grenoble, 1975 P.Lapeyre Le Vertige de Rimbaud.Cl{\'e} d'une perception po{\'e}tique, Editions de la Baconni{\`e}re, Neuch{\^a}tel, 1981",
    year = "1996",
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    'Rimbaud's 'Barbare': The Floating and Reverberating Text'. / Macklin, Gerald.

    In: Neophilologus, Vol. 80, 1996, p. 41-52.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    T1 - 'Rimbaud's 'Barbare': The Floating and Reverberating Text'

    AU - Macklin, Gerald

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    PY - 1996

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    AB - The article sets out to explore the semantic and linguistic properties of 'Barbare', generally agreed to be one of Rimbaud's most inaccessible poems and one of the most controversial of the Illuminations among Rimbaud scholars. It posits the dual structuring principles of reverberation and the floating fragment as central to the composition of the poem. After a résumé of previous critical readings (Osmond, Little, Hackett, Wing and others), the paper argues that through its innovative use of punctuation, its emphasis on the substantive over the verb and its internal musicality, 'Barbare' emerges as a key example of the Rimbaldian experimentation with the prose poem. A close reading of the text is undertaken in order to vindicate this evaluation and to highlight certain other important features. In the course of the analysis attention is paid to the sexual code possibly contained in the poem, to the piece's concluding line as an illustration of Rimbaud's predilection for the disorientating finale, to patterns of elemental imagery encountered in the text and to the insights provided into 'Barbare' by the work of Atle Kittang and Paule Lapeyre. The paper concludes that 'Barbare' is very representative of rRmbaud's desire for upheaval both visionary and linguistic.

    KW - strutcure

    KW - prose poem

    KW - punctuation

    KW - fragment

    KW - finale

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    JO - Neophilologus

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