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  #11  
Unread 05-07-2022, 02:21 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Ah, the derive! You might on that note be familiar with Rimbaud's Le Bateau ivre. He was about eleven when he wrote it (well, eighteen). It's here: https://www.ipreferparis.net/2012/08...-rimbaud-.html

And four I think makes for a nice series.

Cheers,
John
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  #12  
Unread 05-07-2022, 03:18 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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That's interesting, John. Thank you.

I know that Debord, and the Situationists and psychogeography were hugely influenced by Rimbaud, although I don't know Rimbaud's work well.

So, I'm reading the poem as part of the precursor to the narrative of the Situationists, who, in my reading, were explicitly looking for some kind of difference (to capitalism) in their explorations of cities?

Sarah-Jane
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  #13  
Unread 05-07-2022, 05:14 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Sarah-Jane,

I've not heard of the Situationists or Debord but their notion of derive sounds both helpful and a possible debt to Rimbaud. That's exactly how his boat drifts, after all. btw the boat is his narrator, not any human.
Rimbaud tends to get neglected by C19th literary critics, at least in English. I find him startling, troubling, weird - truly epochal - as Verlaine is not and Mallarme is maybe. And he quit poetry at twenty. His dying words (at 37) allegedly were Poetry is shit. If you'd like to read some, I'd suggest A Season in Hell and Illuminations, both of which I think can be read in English if need be. Illuminations is largely prose poems, which gives translators more space and freedom.
Here's an amazing sonnet he wrote at 16, inspired by the Franco_Prussian war: https://blogs.transparent.com/french...ormeur-du-val/
Rimbaud was a rebel from a conservative mother, running away to Paris at 16 and shacking up with the much older (and married) Verlaine, who tried to shoot him later. It does little credit to Verlaine in my books. There is definitely progressive thought in his work, sympathy for the poor and downtrodden, but there's also drugs and the search for the absolute in art. He then went and ran guns to Ethiopia and married a Muslim lady - he may have helped Ethiopia defeat the Italians, unique in African history, so OK, a bit anticolonial, a bit anticapitalist. But I find neither central to his art. Don't know about his thought.
Rimbaud became a big icon to a lot of people, which I think some critics resent. He can be sexist - I have poems of his students dislike - but mostly, he wanted to push the envelope, and I think he is without peer in the history of poetry for teen writing. Mostly 16-18, before he quit. And rebel, absolutely so.

Cheers,
John

Oh - he was also quite beautiful. You can google an image if you like.

Last edited by John Isbell; 05-07-2022 at 05:17 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 05-07-2022, 08:12 PM
Jason Ringler Jason Ringler is offline
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Hi Sarah,

I like the revisions here: the butterfly on the finger and close to blame, the new bird position, the globe looks to have a hole in it, and the hand and images line up better and have a clearer significance.

I think it's more developed now and you probably won't need the text at the bottom because the words and images are pretty much doing it on their own, at least for me.

I do like the dandelion seed ones, they kind of have a fingerprint effect on your original.
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  #15  
Unread 05-10-2022, 03:24 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Thank you John and Jason -

Jason - thank you so much - it's really helpful to me to find where and why you think this is working for you now.

John - that's interesting - and thank you for the signposts to Rimbaud's work - I will go and read those poems.

Debord is interesting, too, perhaps. He writes from a radical marxist perspective, and articulates a counter-narrative to mass culture - The Society of the Spectacle is probably his most famous work. It, for me, very much leads on from Walter Benjamin's Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction but I'm not a marxist scholar, and I'm sure there are nuances I'm not picking up on.

Best online resource for Debord that I've found is here - http://www.notbored.org/debord.html

I am ambiguous about the Situationists. Things that (apart from the complex politics and context) stand out for me are that -

- they used early tech in their explorations of Paris (walkie-talkies)
- they are very self-consciously radical
- Lefebvre lost them in the rural

Psychogeography is/was fashionable a few years ago, but, like everything, perhaps where it came from is just as interesting as what it has become (which seem, for the most part, to be historical or alt-narrative walks, and arts 'walking practice').

Sarah-Jane
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  #16  
Unread 05-10-2022, 04:49 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Sarah-Jane,

Ah yes, fashion. I'm going to guess Lefebvre left the Communist Party in 1957 because of Hungary, 1956, as many in France did. Many in France of course did not, Sartre among them. Radical Marxists - Soboul - controlled French Revolutionary historiography up to about the 1960s, dismissing Lafayette for instance, a man who participated in three revolutions and went to prison for it, as they had not, as a reactionary. It is all very convenient. It's good to hear they found ways to improve the experience of going for a walk, walks are worthwhile things. So is Walter Benjamin, of course, a writer of whom I have a high opinion. The Society of the Spectacle sounds like an interesting title, I'll have to look out for it. And yes, I would say that Rimbaud is worth reading.

Cheers,
John
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  #17  
Unread 05-10-2022, 04:59 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi John,

I'm going to guess Lefebvre left the Communist Party in 1957 because of Hungary, 1956, as many in France did.

He was expelled from the Communist Party. His ideologies were distinctive. I hope you enjoy The Society of the Spectacle if you read it at some point.

Just editing swiftly as that sounded really snippy when I read it back and I didn't mean it to! I think your points about Lafayette are really interesting - and yes, walks are interesting, and I do think that the Situationists elevated them into something that was also radical!

(apologies, I was/am just tired and wasn't thinking about how my reply read back)

Sarah-Jane

Last edited by Sarah-Jane Crowson; 05-10-2022 at 05:13 PM. Reason: last bit added
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  #18  
Unread 05-10-2022, 06:07 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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My post sounded snippy! My apologies, I have my opinions about French fashion and Marxism‘s place in that, but I don’t need to bang on about it. Thank you for the links to things I don’t know. 1957 was a tough time for French Communists.

Cheers,
John
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