The Other Rimbaud
Original title: L’Autre Rimbaud
We thought we knew everything about the life of this most famous of poets. But something still lingered in the shadows.
The photograph is famous. A little boy dressed for his first communion, hair nearly combed to one side, eyes looking defiantly at the lens. His name is Arthur Rimbaud. What we don’t know is that on the original photo, taken over sixty years earlier, his older brother, Frédéric, is posing next to him. This other Rimbaud was deliberately removed from the image, just as he has been forgotten in biographies by the most renowned specialists. And yet the two boys had been inseparable when they were young, companions in boredom in their dreary Ardennes, brought up by a sour-tempered mother abandoned by her husband. Then their paths diverged. One was lauded as a genius while the other was labelled a failure and ostracised by his family, erased from Arthur’s correspondence, and even deprived of the right to royalties after the poet’s death.
We thought we knew everything about the Rimbaud family, but there was one secret, which David Le Bailly reveals in a unique book that is part investigation, part novel. He spent several months immersed in the archives, walking the streets of Rimbaud’s native Charleville and the Ardennes, and even talking to Frédéric Rimbaud’s few living descendants. The author weaves his own experience as an only child into his writing, using it as a starting point to explore the complexity of family relationships and the
meaning of individual destinies.
A moving portrait of a man persecuted by those closest to him, The Other Rimbaud provides new insight into the literary giant that was Rimbaud.
- 12.000 copies sold
- Prologue in English available
- Shortlisted for the Prix Renaudot Essai 2020