Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deathday: French Poet Arthur Rimbaud 1891

Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891) was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music and art. He was known to have been a libertine and a restless soul, traveling extensively on three continents before his death from cancer less than a month after his 37th birthday.

Death (1891)

Rimbaud's grave in Charleville. The inscription reads simply Priez pour lui ("Pray for him").In February 1891, Rimbaud developed what he initially thought was arthritis in his right knee. It failed to respond to treatment and became agonisingly painful, and by March the state of his health forced him to prepare to return to France for treatment. In Aden, Rimbaud consulted a British doctor who mistakenly diagnosed tubercular synovitis and recommended immediate amputation. Rimbaud delayed until 9 May to set his financial affairs in order before catching the boat back to France. On arrival, he was admitted to hospital in Marseille, where his right leg was amputated on 27 May. The post-operative diagnosis was cancer.

After a short stay at his family home in Charleville, he attempted to travel back to Africa, but on the way his health deteriorated and he was readmitted to the same hospital in Marseille where his surgery had been carried out, and spent some time there in great pain, attended by his sister Isabelle. Rimbaud died in Marseille on 10 November 1891, at the age of 37, and he was interred in Charleville.

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