'The Dialectic of "force" and "faiblesse" in Rimbaud's Illuminations

Gerald Macklin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The paper looks at the duality of "force" and "faiblesse" in Rimbaud's poetry with particular reference to the Illuminations. This duality is an organic element in the poetry and can be seen in imagery from the earliest verse poetry and again in the Derniers vers. Rimbaud, as seen in une Saison en enfer, is fascinated by work and action and we see strong figures like the Baker in 'Les Effarés', the Epoux infernal in 'Délires II' and the Vampire in 'Angoisse'. The child in 'Les Poètes de sept ans' is full of contained strength waiting to explode and in 'Le Bateau ivre' the drunken vessel goes on a dynamic imaginative jhourney before expending all its energies and ultimately stagnating. This is true as well of the rampaging Prince in 'Conte', a poem that illustrates Rimbaud's predilection for a pattern of impressive force followed by exhaustion. In the Illuminations we frequently find explosive finales where the elements combine is a spectacularly destructive performance ('Angoisse', 'Nocturne vulgaire', 'Barbare'). Again, in 'Génie' we have a demonstration of the power of universal love and in 'A une raison' another potent divinity is worshipped. Yet the corollary of these displays of power and focre is the sense of weakness as in 'Conte' where the Prince dies and the one-line finale expresses impotence ("La musique savante manque à notre désir"); in 'Jeunesse' where the poet talks of his own "impuissance"; and in 'Ouvriers' where "force" is lamented as an absence. The finale of 'Métropolitain' with all its colours celebrating "ta force" represents one pole of this duality while the Vampire who controls the poet in 'Angoisse' reflects the other. Richard points out how energy often explodes ascensionally in the Illuminations and the lust for force is expressed through orchestral energies in the collection as it is through colour. The poems in the Illuminations often represent an explosion of verbal and artistic power on the part of Rimbaud in an enthralling artistic performance.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages24-35
    JournalNottingham French Studies
    Volume17
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 1978

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    dialectics
    poetry
    energy
    writer
    Pole
    performance
    love
    Dialectics
    Illumination
    Duality
    Poetry
    Energy
    Poet
    Finale
    Vampires
    Poem

    Cite this

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    title = "'The Dialectic of {"}force{"} and {"}faiblesse{"} in Rimbaud's Illuminations",
    abstract = "The paper looks at the duality of {"}force{"} and {"}faiblesse{"} in Rimbaud's poetry with particular reference to the Illuminations. This duality is an organic element in the poetry and can be seen in imagery from the earliest verse poetry and again in the Derniers vers. Rimbaud, as seen in une Saison en enfer, is fascinated by work and action and we see strong figures like the Baker in 'Les Effar{\'e}s', the Epoux infernal in 'D{\'e}lires II' and the Vampire in 'Angoisse'. The child in 'Les Po{\`e}tes de sept ans' is full of contained strength waiting to explode and in 'Le Bateau ivre' the drunken vessel goes on a dynamic imaginative jhourney before expending all its energies and ultimately stagnating. This is true as well of the rampaging Prince in 'Conte', a poem that illustrates Rimbaud's predilection for a pattern of impressive force followed by exhaustion. In the Illuminations we frequently find explosive finales where the elements combine is a spectacularly destructive performance ('Angoisse', 'Nocturne vulgaire', 'Barbare'). Again, in 'G{\'e}nie' we have a demonstration of the power of universal love and in 'A une raison' another potent divinity is worshipped. Yet the corollary of these displays of power and focre is the sense of weakness as in 'Conte' where the Prince dies and the one-line finale expresses impotence ({"}La musique savante manque {\`a} notre d{\'e}sir{"}); in 'Jeunesse' where the poet talks of his own {"}impuissance{"}; and in 'Ouvriers' where {"}force{"} is lamented as an absence. The finale of 'M{\'e}tropolitain' with all its colours celebrating {"}ta force{"} represents one pole of this duality while the Vampire who controls the poet in 'Angoisse' reflects the other. Richard points out how energy often explodes ascensionally in the Illuminations and the lust for force is expressed through orchestral energies in the collection as it is through colour. The poems in the Illuminations often represent an explosion of verbal and artistic power on the part of Rimbaud in an enthralling artistic performance.",
    author = "Gerald Macklin",
    note = "Reference text: Rimbaud, Oeuvres ed. S.Bernard, Garnier, Paris, 1960 Baudelaire, Oeuvres compl{\`e}tes I, texte {\'e}tabli, pr{\'e}sent{\'e} et annot{\'e} par Claude Pichois, Gallimard, Biblioth{\`e}que de la Pl{\'e}iade, Paris, 1975 J.-P.Richard Po{\'e}sie et profondeur, Seuil, Paris, 1955",
    year = "1978",
    month = "10",
    language = "English",
    volume = "17",
    pages = "24--35",
    journal = "Nottingham French Studies",
    issn = "0029-4586",
    number = "2",

    }

    'The Dialectic of "force" and "faiblesse" in Rimbaud's Illuminations. / Macklin, Gerald.

    In: Nottingham French Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, 10.1978, p. 24-35.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - 'The Dialectic of "force" and "faiblesse" in Rimbaud's Illuminations

    AU - Macklin, Gerald

    N1 - Reference text: Rimbaud, Oeuvres ed. S.Bernard, Garnier, Paris, 1960 Baudelaire, Oeuvres complètes I, texte établi, présenté et annoté par Claude Pichois, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, 1975 J.-P.Richard Poésie et profondeur, Seuil, Paris, 1955

    PY - 1978/10

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    N2 - The paper looks at the duality of "force" and "faiblesse" in Rimbaud's poetry with particular reference to the Illuminations. This duality is an organic element in the poetry and can be seen in imagery from the earliest verse poetry and again in the Derniers vers. Rimbaud, as seen in une Saison en enfer, is fascinated by work and action and we see strong figures like the Baker in 'Les Effarés', the Epoux infernal in 'Délires II' and the Vampire in 'Angoisse'. The child in 'Les Poètes de sept ans' is full of contained strength waiting to explode and in 'Le Bateau ivre' the drunken vessel goes on a dynamic imaginative jhourney before expending all its energies and ultimately stagnating. This is true as well of the rampaging Prince in 'Conte', a poem that illustrates Rimbaud's predilection for a pattern of impressive force followed by exhaustion. In the Illuminations we frequently find explosive finales where the elements combine is a spectacularly destructive performance ('Angoisse', 'Nocturne vulgaire', 'Barbare'). Again, in 'Génie' we have a demonstration of the power of universal love and in 'A une raison' another potent divinity is worshipped. Yet the corollary of these displays of power and focre is the sense of weakness as in 'Conte' where the Prince dies and the one-line finale expresses impotence ("La musique savante manque à notre désir"); in 'Jeunesse' where the poet talks of his own "impuissance"; and in 'Ouvriers' where "force" is lamented as an absence. The finale of 'Métropolitain' with all its colours celebrating "ta force" represents one pole of this duality while the Vampire who controls the poet in 'Angoisse' reflects the other. Richard points out how energy often explodes ascensionally in the Illuminations and the lust for force is expressed through orchestral energies in the collection as it is through colour. The poems in the Illuminations often represent an explosion of verbal and artistic power on the part of Rimbaud in an enthralling artistic performance.

    AB - The paper looks at the duality of "force" and "faiblesse" in Rimbaud's poetry with particular reference to the Illuminations. This duality is an organic element in the poetry and can be seen in imagery from the earliest verse poetry and again in the Derniers vers. Rimbaud, as seen in une Saison en enfer, is fascinated by work and action and we see strong figures like the Baker in 'Les Effarés', the Epoux infernal in 'Délires II' and the Vampire in 'Angoisse'. The child in 'Les Poètes de sept ans' is full of contained strength waiting to explode and in 'Le Bateau ivre' the drunken vessel goes on a dynamic imaginative jhourney before expending all its energies and ultimately stagnating. This is true as well of the rampaging Prince in 'Conte', a poem that illustrates Rimbaud's predilection for a pattern of impressive force followed by exhaustion. In the Illuminations we frequently find explosive finales where the elements combine is a spectacularly destructive performance ('Angoisse', 'Nocturne vulgaire', 'Barbare'). Again, in 'Génie' we have a demonstration of the power of universal love and in 'A une raison' another potent divinity is worshipped. Yet the corollary of these displays of power and focre is the sense of weakness as in 'Conte' where the Prince dies and the one-line finale expresses impotence ("La musique savante manque à notre désir"); in 'Jeunesse' where the poet talks of his own "impuissance"; and in 'Ouvriers' where "force" is lamented as an absence. The finale of 'Métropolitain' with all its colours celebrating "ta force" represents one pole of this duality while the Vampire who controls the poet in 'Angoisse' reflects the other. Richard points out how energy often explodes ascensionally in the Illuminations and the lust for force is expressed through orchestral energies in the collection as it is through colour. The poems in the Illuminations often represent an explosion of verbal and artistic power on the part of Rimbaud in an enthralling artistic performance.

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