In the space of one year,1871, with a handful of startling poems, Arthur Rimbaud transformed himself from a teenaged bumpkin into the literary sensation of Paris. He was taken in, then taken up, by the older, married poet Paul Verlaine in a passionate affair. When Rimbaud sought to end it, Verlaine, in a jealous rage, shot him. Shortly thereafter, just shy of his twentieth birthday, Rimbaud declared himself finished with literature. His resignation notice was his immortal prose poem 'A Season in Hell'. In time, Rimbaud became a prosperous trader and arms dealer in Ethiopia. But a cancerous leg forced him to return to France, to the family farm, with his sister and loving but overbearing mother. He died aged thirty-seven.Bruce Duffy takes the bare facts of Rimbaud's fascinating existence and brings them vividly to life in a story rich with people, places, and paradox. He conveys, as few ever have, the inner turmoil of this calculating genius of outrage, whose work and untidy life did much to anticipate the twentieth century's culture of rebellion.

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