Skip to main content
Harvard University Press - home
Rimbaud’s Theatre of the Self

Rimbaud’s Theatre of the Self

James Lawler

ISBN 9780674770751

Publication date: 03/01/1992

In a new interpretation of a poet who has swayed the course of modern poetry--in France and elsewhere--James Lawler focuses on what he demonstrates is the crux of Rimbaud's imagination: the masks and adopted personas with which he regularly tested his identity and his art.

A drama emerges in Lawler's urbane and resourceful reading. The thinking, feeling, acting Drunken Boat is an early theatrical projection of the poet's self; the Inventor, the Memorialist, and the Ingénu assume distinct roles in his later verse. It is, however, in Illuminations and Une Saison en enfer that Rimbaud enacts most powerfully his grandiose dreams. Here the poet becomes Self Creator, Self-Critic, Self-Ironist; he takes the parts of Floodmaker, Oriental Storyteller, Dreamer, Lover; and he recounts his descent into Hell in the guise of a Confessor.

In delineating and exploring the poet's "theatre of the self" Lawler shows us the tragic lucidity and the dramatic coherence of Rimbaud's work.

Author

  • James Lawler is Wailer Distinguished Service Professor of French, University of Chicago.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

Recommendations