Unknown Beyond the avant-garde at the time of his death, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) has been one of the most destructive and liberating influences on twentieth-century culture. During his lifetime he was a bourgeois-baiting visionary, a reinventor of language and perception, a breaker of taboos. The list of his known crimes is longer than the list of his published poems. But his posthumous career is even more astonishing: saint to symbolists and surrealists; poster child for anarchy and drug use: gay pioneer; and a major influence on such artists as Picasso, Bob Dylan, and Jim Morrison.At the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud turned his back on his artistic achievement. For his remaining sixteen years he lived in exile, ending up as a major explorer and arms trader in Abyssinia. The genius of Graham Robb's account is to join the two halves of this life, to show Rimbaud's wild and unsettling poetry as a blueprint for the exotic adventures to come. This is the story of Rimbaud the explorer, in mind and in matter.
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