25/10/2008

Arthur Rimbaud: Insulting Beauty

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," John Keats had his Grecian Urn proclaim in 1819. Two generations later, across the English Channel, the young Arthur Rimbaud was readjusting truth to beauty within (and beyond) the conventions of French poetry. In doing so, he radically reinvented the idea of love, even as he pioneered two major experimental forms of poetry, the prose poem and free verse (vers libre).

By the time he was nineteen, this astonishing adolescent had mastered and then assaulted the classical beauty of the Alexandrine line - the central building block of French verse - and he had broken through into realms of erotic and psychic experience for which his culture scarcely had a language. So he invented one...

The whole article can be found at The Athlantic.