Rimbaud the Son

Written by Pierre Michon, translated by Jody Gladding and Elizabeth Deshays | October 22, 2013
Rimbaud the Son, written by Pierre Michon, translated by Jody Gladding and Elizabeth Deshays, Yale University Press, October 2013

Rimbaud the Son, widely celebrated upon its publication in France, investigates the life of a writer, the writing life, and the art of life-writing. Pierre Michon in his groundbreaking work examines the storied life of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud by means of a new literary genre: a meditation on the life of a legend as witnessed by his contemporaries, those who knew him before the legends took hold. Michon introduces us to Rimbaud the son, friend, schoolboy, renegade, drunk, sexual libertine, visionary, and ultimately poet. Michon focuses no less on the creative act: What presses a person to write? To pursue excellence? The author dramatizes the life of a genius whose sufferings are enormous while his ambitions are transcendent, whose life is lived with utter intensity and purpose but also disorder and dissolution—as if the very substance of life is its undoing. Rimbaud the Son is now masterfully translated into English, enabling a wide new audience to discover for themselves the author Publishers Weekly called "one of the best-kept secrets of modern French prose."


Pierre Michon is an author of high acclaim in France and Europe. He was winner of the Prix France Culture in 1984 for his first book, Small Lives, and of the 1996 Prix de la Ville de Paris for his body of work. He lives in France.

Jody Gladding, a poet and translator, has translated over twenty books from the French.

Elizabeth Deshays is a teacher, translator, and specialized horticulturalist. In 2009 Gladding and Deshays won the Florence Gould French-American Foundation Translation Prize for Pierre Michon’s Small Lives.

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