The poet Rimbaud recovering from Verlaine’s love
Around January last year I read an interesting study of the man and poet by Henry Miller. I found it yesterday and opened it at a random page.
I read a beautiful passage I had almost forgotten about, and I want to share it with anyone who’ll be reading. I agree with it from the beginning to the end (Dostoievsky included) and I hope it brings some inspiration!
‘Until I ran across Rimbaud it was Dostoievsky who reigned supreme. In one sense he always will, just as Buddha will always be dearer to me than Christ. Dostoievsky went to the very bottom, remained there an immeasurable time, and emerged a whole man. I prefer the whole man. And if I must live only once on this earth, then I prefer to know it as Hell, Purgatory and Paradise all in one. Rimbaud experienced a Paradise, but it was premature. Still, because of that experience, he was able to give us a more vivid picture of Hell. His life as a man, though he was never a mature man, was a Purgatory. But that is the lot of most artists. What interests me extremely in Rimbaud is his vision of Paradise regained, Paradise earned. This, of course, is something apart from the splendor and the magic of his words, which I consider incomparable. What defeats me is his life, which is at such utter variance with his vision. Whenever I read his life I feel that I too have failed, that all of us fail. And then I go back to his words – and they never fail.
Why is it then that I now adore him above all other writers? Is it because his failure is so instructive? Is it because he resisted until the very last? I admit it, I love all those men who are called rebels and failures. I love them because they are so human, so “human-all-too-human”.’
(H. Miller, The Time of The Assassins, pp. 108-109)