'The Disinherited Child in the Poetry of Arthur Rimbaud'

Gerald M Macklin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article looks closely at the theme of childhood in the work of Rimbaud. It explores his identification with the child, his fertile imagination, his lonely revolt and his role as a disinherited pariah. The child's sense of exclusion from the family is explored through the poems 'Les Poètes de sept ans' and 'Les Etrennes des orphelins'. In this latter poem we find an early insight into Rimbaud's preoccupation with the theme of the broken family and the idea of orphanhood is again apparent in 'Les Effarés' where the urchins are excluded from the warmth of the bakery symbolizing the womb. 'Les Poètes de sept ans' is a key text in the Rimbaud canon in that it displays the child-poet's rebellion againats maternal authority and at the same time his emergence into visionary and creative channels. The Derniers vers develop these elements from the earlier verse and 'Comédie de la soif' seems to theatricalize the child's separation from familial influences while' Mémoire', in a highly complex manner, evokes the formative moments in childhood that forever haunt the adult consciousness. In the Illuminations the poem 'Enfance' represents a five-part examination of the whole subject investigating the innocence of the child's imagination, the theme of orphanhood, the child's ability to play many roles and adopt endless identities and the ultimate bitterness of the disinherited child. Finally, the paper looks at the ebullience of 'Aube' where the child pursues the goddess of the dawn in an allegory of success and failure leading to a brutal awakening from his dream. The paper concludes by suggesting a link between childhood and the poet's pursuit of a new language.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages45-60
    JournalRomance Studies
    Volume28
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

    Fingerprint

    Poetry
    Childhood
    Poem
    Poet
    Allegory
    Revolt
    Pursuit
    Exclusion
    Familial
    Language
    Warmth
    Innocence
    Rebellion
    Awakening
    Illumination
    Authority
    Canon
    Comedies
    Verse
    Consciousness

    Keywords

    • child
    • childhood
    • innocence
    • imagination
    • orphanhood

    Cite this

    Macklin, Gerald M. / 'The Disinherited Child in the Poetry of Arthur Rimbaud'. In: Romance Studies. 1996 ; Vol. 28. pp. 45-60.
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    abstract = "This article looks closely at the theme of childhood in the work of Rimbaud. It explores his identification with the child, his fertile imagination, his lonely revolt and his role as a disinherited pariah. The child's sense of exclusion from the family is explored through the poems 'Les Po{\`e}tes de sept ans' and 'Les Etrennes des orphelins'. In this latter poem we find an early insight into Rimbaud's preoccupation with the theme of the broken family and the idea of orphanhood is again apparent in 'Les Effar{\'e}s' where the urchins are excluded from the warmth of the bakery symbolizing the womb. 'Les Po{\`e}tes de sept ans' is a key text in the Rimbaud canon in that it displays the child-poet's rebellion againats maternal authority and at the same time his emergence into visionary and creative channels. The Derniers vers develop these elements from the earlier verse and 'Com{\'e}die de la soif' seems to theatricalize the child's separation from familial influences while' M{\'e}moire', in a highly complex manner, evokes the formative moments in childhood that forever haunt the adult consciousness. In the Illuminations the poem 'Enfance' represents a five-part examination of the whole subject investigating the innocence of the child's imagination, the theme of orphanhood, the child's ability to play many roles and adopt endless identities and the ultimate bitterness of the disinherited child. Finally, the paper looks at the ebullience of 'Aube' where the child pursues the goddess of the dawn in an allegory of success and failure leading to a brutal awakening from his dream. The paper concludes by suggesting a link between childhood and the poet's pursuit of a new language.",
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    note = "Reference text: Rimbaud Oeuvres, edited by S.Bernard and A.Guyaux, Garnier, Paris, 1987 Baudelaire, Oeuvres compl{\`e}tes II, edited and annotated by Claude Pichois, Gallimard, Biblioth{\`e}que de la Pl{\'e}iade, Paris, 1976 D.Potter Seeing the Blossom, Introduction by Melvin Bragg, Faber and Faber, London and Boston, 1994 S.Murphy Le Premier Rimbaud ou l'apprentissage de la subversion, Editions du CNRS, Presses Universitaires de Lyon, Lyon and Paris, 1990 M-J Whitaker La Structure du monde imaginaire de Rimbaud, Paris, Nizet, 1972 A.Kittang Discours et Jeu.Essai d'analyse des textes d'Arthur Rimbaud, Universitets Forlaget/Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, Oslo and Grenoble, 1975 V.Minogue 'Rimbaud's 'Ophelia'', FRENCH STUDIES, vol. XLIII, no. 4, October 1989, pp. 423-436 S. Beckett 'Drunken Boat' - a translation of Rimbaud's poem 'Le Bateau ivre' , edited by James Knowlson and Felix Leakey, Whiteknights Press, Reading, 1976 P. Broome 'From Vision to Catastrophe in Rimbaud's Illuminations', FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES, vol. 15, no. 4, October, 1979, pp.361-379 P. Collier 'Lectures de 'M{\'e}moire', in Parade sauvage, Colloque no.2, Rimbaud {\`a} la loupe, Mus{\'e}e-Biblioth{\`e}que Rimbaud, Charleville, 1990 J.Plessen Promenade et po{\'e}sie. L'Exp{\'e}rience de la marche et du mouvement dans l'oeuvre de Rimbaud, Mouton, The Hague/Paris, 1967 Arthur Rimbaud Illuminations, edited by N.Osmond, Athlone Press, London, 1976 G.Macklin 'Rimbaud's 'Trois contes'', FRENCH STUDIES BULLETIN, no.23, summer, 1987, pp.10-12 J.Lawler Rimbaud's Thetare of the Self, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass./London, 1992",
    year = "1996",
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    pages = "45--60",
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    'The Disinherited Child in the Poetry of Arthur Rimbaud'. / Macklin, Gerald M.

    In: Romance Studies, Vol. 28, 1996, p. 45-60.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    N2 - This article looks closely at the theme of childhood in the work of Rimbaud. It explores his identification with the child, his fertile imagination, his lonely revolt and his role as a disinherited pariah. The child's sense of exclusion from the family is explored through the poems 'Les Poètes de sept ans' and 'Les Etrennes des orphelins'. In this latter poem we find an early insight into Rimbaud's preoccupation with the theme of the broken family and the idea of orphanhood is again apparent in 'Les Effarés' where the urchins are excluded from the warmth of the bakery symbolizing the womb. 'Les Poètes de sept ans' is a key text in the Rimbaud canon in that it displays the child-poet's rebellion againats maternal authority and at the same time his emergence into visionary and creative channels. The Derniers vers develop these elements from the earlier verse and 'Comédie de la soif' seems to theatricalize the child's separation from familial influences while' Mémoire', in a highly complex manner, evokes the formative moments in childhood that forever haunt the adult consciousness. In the Illuminations the poem 'Enfance' represents a five-part examination of the whole subject investigating the innocence of the child's imagination, the theme of orphanhood, the child's ability to play many roles and adopt endless identities and the ultimate bitterness of the disinherited child. Finally, the paper looks at the ebullience of 'Aube' where the child pursues the goddess of the dawn in an allegory of success and failure leading to a brutal awakening from his dream. The paper concludes by suggesting a link between childhood and the poet's pursuit of a new language.

    AB - This article looks closely at the theme of childhood in the work of Rimbaud. It explores his identification with the child, his fertile imagination, his lonely revolt and his role as a disinherited pariah. The child's sense of exclusion from the family is explored through the poems 'Les Poètes de sept ans' and 'Les Etrennes des orphelins'. In this latter poem we find an early insight into Rimbaud's preoccupation with the theme of the broken family and the idea of orphanhood is again apparent in 'Les Effarés' where the urchins are excluded from the warmth of the bakery symbolizing the womb. 'Les Poètes de sept ans' is a key text in the Rimbaud canon in that it displays the child-poet's rebellion againats maternal authority and at the same time his emergence into visionary and creative channels. The Derniers vers develop these elements from the earlier verse and 'Comédie de la soif' seems to theatricalize the child's separation from familial influences while' Mémoire', in a highly complex manner, evokes the formative moments in childhood that forever haunt the adult consciousness. In the Illuminations the poem 'Enfance' represents a five-part examination of the whole subject investigating the innocence of the child's imagination, the theme of orphanhood, the child's ability to play many roles and adopt endless identities and the ultimate bitterness of the disinherited child. Finally, the paper looks at the ebullience of 'Aube' where the child pursues the goddess of the dawn in an allegory of success and failure leading to a brutal awakening from his dream. The paper concludes by suggesting a link between childhood and the poet's pursuit of a new language.

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