Une Saison en enfer Criticism - Essay

Enid Starkie (essay date 1961)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Une Saison en enfer," in Arthur Rimbaud, New Directions, 1961, pp. 287-313.

[In the following excerpt from her book-length treatment of Rimbaud's life and works, Starkie identifies three principal themes in Une Saison en enfer: sin, belief in God, and conformity to the realities of human existence. She asserts that Une Saison reveals Rimbaud's inability either to resolve the conflict between good and evil, trade personal freedom for the love of God, or compromise his idealistic principles.]

With Le Bateau Ivre, Mémoire and certain poems from Illuminations, Une Saison en Enfer ranks as Rimbaud's greatest work. It contains...

(The entire section is 2361 words.)

W. M. Frohock (essay date 1963)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "From the Far Side of Despair," in Rimbaud's Poetic Practice: Image and Theme in the Major Poems, Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 201-22.

[In the following essay, Frohock disputes the viewheld by many earlier criticsthat in Une Saison en enfer Rimbaud irrevocably rejected both the world around him and his literary aspirations. Frohock maintains that although Rimbaud condemned both the Christian tradition and his personal experiment with voyancy, he accepted the challenge of dealing with reality and searching for a new form of poetic expression.]

Nothing could be more natural than that our time should have made Rimbaud one of its...

(The entire section is 7384 words.)

C. Chadwick (essay date 1979)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Une Saison en enfer," in Rimbaud, Athlone Press, 1979, pp. 112-35.

[In the following essay, Chadwick argues that Rimbaud demonstrated a much firmer sense of artistic control in the two parts of "Délires" than he did in other sections of the poem. The critic further contends that in "Délires I and II, " the principal themes of spiritual alienation, the search for a new verse form, and the impulse to reshape Western society are more fully articulated than in the preceding or following sections.]

Publication and Composition

With the exception of a few of his early poems, Une Saison en enfer is the only one of Rimbaud's...

(The entire section is 10121 words.)

C. A. Hackett (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Une Saison en enfer," in Rimbaud: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge University Press, 1981, pp. 85-119.

[In the essay below, Hackett emphasizes the technical artistry and universal implications of Une Saison en enfer. Discussing each section in turn, the critic examines Rimbaud's language and imagery; his rhetorical method of statement and counterstatement; his use of certain structural devices to achieve coherence; and his ambiguous treatment of the motifs of time, salvation, the search for truth, and the essential duality of body and spirit.]

Poésies, Derniers vers or Vers nouveaux et chansons, and Illuminations are collections...

(The entire section is 14008 words.)

James Lawler (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Conclusion," in Rimbaud's Theatre of the Self, Harvard University Press, 1992, pp. 201-19.

[In the following essay, Lawler examines the self-reflexive nature of Une Saison en enfer, suggesting that like all Rimbaud's work, its essential purpose is dramatic rather than descriptive or didactic. The critic also points out the influence of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal on Rimbaud's depiction of a soul in anguish—though he argues that unlike Les Fleurs, Une Saison ultimately expresses belief in the possibility of deliverance.]

"Bah! faisons toutes les grimaces imaginables" 'So what! let us make all conceivable grimaces'.1 Rimbaud...

(The entire section is 8331 words.)