gb fr

The Life of Arthur Rimbaud

Blacks Club - 67 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4QH

With Professor Seth Whidden, The Queen's College, Oxford

Before he had turned 21, Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891) upended the house of French poetry and left it in shambles. What makes Rimbaud’s poetry important, argues Seth Whidden, is part of what makes his life so compelling: rebellion, audacity, creativity and exploration. Almost all of Rimbaud’s poems were written between the ages of fifteen and twenty. Against the backdrop of the crumbling Second Empire and the tumultuous Paris Commune, the poet took centuries-old traditions of French versification and picked them apart with an unmatched knowledge of how they fitted together. Combining sensuality with pastoral, parody, political satire, fable, eroticism and mystery, Rimbaud’s works range from traditional verse forms to prose-poetry and include the two first free-verse poems written in French.

Seth Whidden is Professor of French literature at The Queen’s College, Oxford, and a leading expert on the poet Arthur Rimbaud. His recent biography, published in the Critical Lives series of Reaktion Books, is a brilliant introduction written for a general readership: ISBN 978178023980435 RRP £11.99.

Seth Whidden’s biography of Rimbaud is an impressive piece of work… it manages to be scholarly, thrilling and sober in one’ – Manchester Review of Books

Arthur Rimbaud was an habitué of what was then ‘French’ Soho in 1872-73. We know that he attended at least one event in Dean Street. So it is entirely fitting to be exploring the life of this enfant terrible poet in the atmospheric surroundings of Blacks Club’ - Graham Henderson

How to Book

The event will be held from 6.30pm on Tuesday 22nd January at Blacks Club, 67 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4QH. The talk itself will commence promptly at 7.00pm, and should last about an hour.

Space at the event is strictly limited. RSVP in advance to to reserve a place, indicating whether or not you are a Member of Blacks.
These will be allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis. Please reserve your place now to avoid disappointment!
The event will cost £10 per person on the door, payable to R&V either by cheque or in cash.