'Patterns of Elemental Imagery in Rimbaud's Illuminations'

Gerald Macklin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This article considers how the four elements form a significant part of Rimbaud's imagery in the Illuminations. In the course of the paper reference is made regularly to the works of Gaston Bachelard whose phenomenological approach to image has revealed the hidden unconscious levels on which creative expression is shaped. Also included is the thinking of Jean-Pierre Richard, an influential thématicien whose work on Rimbaud has been extremely insightful on the level of the poetic image. The paper looks at all areas of Rimbaud's work for evidence of the importance of elemental imagery but is primaruily concerned with the prose poems of the Illuminations.The storm, liminal areas between land and sea, the reconciliation of elemental opposites - these are key areas highlighted in the study. As a modus operandi the elements are treated in turn and poems such as 'Mémoire' and 'Les Corbeaux' support the investigation of air and its associations in Rimbaud. Fire is seen as an agent of destruction but also a symbol of power and knowledge, 'Après le déluge' and 'Vagabonds' figuring in this connection. For earth imagery the paper turns to 'Aube' and 'Enfance' as well as 'Les Poètes de sept ans'. Finally, with water in mind the article looks again at 'Aube' and 'Après le déluge' as well as finales in the Illuminations involving self-destruction in stormy seas. Rimbaud's affinity with the polar regions and thus with ice ['Barbare'] is explored and the reconciliation of elemental opposites is studied via 'L'Eternité' and 'Barbare'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-36
    JournalNottingham French Studies
    Volume31
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1992

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Rimbaud Oeuvres, ed. S.Bernard and A.Guyaux, Classiques Garnier, Paris, 1987

    P.Lapeyre Le Vertige de Rimbaud, clé d'une perception poétique, Editions de la Baconnière, Neuchâtel, 1981

    M.-J.Whitaker La Structure du monde imaginaire de Rimbaud, Nizet, Paris, 1972

    P.Broome 'From Vision to Catastrophe in Rimbaud's illuminations', FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES, vol.15, no.4, October 1979, pp.361-379

    J.-P.Richard 'Poésie et profondeur, Seuil, Paris, 1955

    'G.Macklin 'The Dialectic of 'force' and 'faiblesse' in Rimbaud's Illuminations', NOTTINGHAM FRENCH STUDIES, vol.17, no.2, October 1978, pp.24-35

    N.Wing Present Apperances: Aspects of Poetic Structure in the Illuminations, Romance Monographs Inc., University, Mississippi, 1974

    G.Bachelard L'Air et les songes, Corti, Paris, 1943

    S.Beckett 'Drunken boat', edited by James Knowlson and Felix Leakey, Whiteknights Press, Reading, 1976

    J.Plessen Promenade et poésie. L'Expérience de la marche et du mouvement dans l'oeuvre de Rimbaud, Mouton, The Hague/Paris, 1967

    G.Bachelard La Terre et les rêveries de la volonté, Corti, Paris, 1948

    A.Kittang Discours et Jeu. Essai d'analyse des textes d'Arthur Rimbaud, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble,Grenoble, 1975

    G.Bachealard L'Eau et les rêves, Paris, Corti, 1942

    S.Bernard Rimbaud Oeuvres, Garnier, Paris, 1960

    P.Debray Rimbaud le magicien déabusé, Julliard, Paris, 1949

    R. de Renéville Rimbaud le voyant, La Colombe, Paris, 1947

    E.Ahearn 'The childlike sensibility. A study of Wordsworth and Rimbaud', REVUE DE LITTERATURE COMPAREE, vol.42, 1968, pp.234-256

    R.Little 'Light on Rimbaud's 'Baou'', FRENCH STUDIES BULLETIN, no.10, spring 1984, pp.3-7

    R.Little Rimbaud, Illuminations, Critical Guides to French Texts, no.29, Grant and Cutler, London, 1983

    G.Macklin 'Perspectives on the role of punctuation in Rimbaud's Illuminations', JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES, XX, 1990, pp.59-72

    T.Todorov 'Une complication de texte: les Illuminations', POETIQUE, no.34, 1978, pp.241-253

    J.-P. Chambon Lectures de Rimbaud, Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles, Brussels, 1982

    Keywords

    • prose poem
    • elements
    • imagery

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of ''Patterns of Elemental Imagery in Rimbaud's Illuminations''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this