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'Rimbaud Mystificateur: Distancing the Reader in the Illuminations'

Macklin, Gerald (1995) 'Rimbaud Mystificateur: Distancing the Reader in the Illuminations'. FRENCH STUDIES BULLETIN, 56 . pp. 8-12. [Journal article]

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The paper shows how Rimbaud sets up an ambiguous relationship with his readers and displays a desire to mystify and bemuse them. He sets himself up as an oracular figure who keep us at arm's length and revels in the role of mystificateur baffling his readership with regularity. Three poems from the Illuminations - 'H', 'Parade' and 'Matinée d'ivresse' - present themselves as riddles which invite one to decode them. Earlier poems like 'Voyelles' illustrate his playful refusal do divulge secrets and in the case of 'H' we are explicily asked by the poet to find a solution to a puzzle - "trouvez Hortense." As with the symbolic significance of the vowels, here we have the letter 'H 'put before us in all its enigmatic and mysterious associations. 'Parade' offers a further example of this process and the last line "J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage" underlines the poet's superior knowledge and insight. The poem is thus a willed mystification on the part of Rimbaud and in 'Matinée d'ivresse' the final italicized term "Assassins" reverberates in all its etymological depth and undercuts any sense of confederacy between poet and readers. He constantly hovers on the frontier bewteen intimacy and distance, explaining and mystifying.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:mystification; prose poems; reader; riddle
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts > School of Modern Languages
Faculty of Arts
Research Institutes and Groups:Arts and Humanities Research Institute > Modern Languages
Arts and Humanities Research Institute
ID Code:19140
Deposited By: Dr Gerald Macklin
Deposited On:25 Jul 2011 09:45
Last Modified:25 Jul 2011 09:45

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