Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
A. W. Patrick
While most critics make passing references to the town in Rimbaud's poetry, and a few have discussed the theme of the town in his prose poetry, it has never been studied thoroughly as a topic throughout his work. This thesis therefore traces Rimbaud' s view of towns and the role of the town as theme and image throughout his poetry, on the premise that the early poems are seminal works for the later ones.
Because of the lacunae in our knowledge of Rinbaud' s life, this study is divided geographically rather than chronologically into chapters on Charleville, Paris, Belgian towns and the composite towns of the prose poems. It is not a biographical study but an examination of the poetry.
Within each chapter, the poems are examined as entities in order to demonstrate Rimbaud's attitude towards particular towns, and especially the role of the town in his poetry. The town poems are classified as far as theme is concerned according to their function as social commentary, as analogies for his emotions, as demonstrations of his concept of poetry, as refuges, therapy or antidotes to pressures, as spectacle or theatrica.lization of reality, as transpositions of reality or memories, or as visions, The imagery which illustrates these varying roles or aspects of the tmm in Rimba.ud's tmm poems is analysed according to pre-selected areas of urban geography: localization, topography, geology, architectural features, climatic conditions, social and human aspects of towns, commercial activities, botanical and oiological life, political organization, circulation and movement, the language of the towns and the vantage point of the observer or narrator. Rimbaud's changing and developing interest in different facets of tmms can thus be followed in detail.
This thesis can be read at two levels: for a view of Rimbaud's towns at any point in his poetic development through the analysis of individual poems and for a view of the pattern of development of this preoccupation in Rimbaud's poetry.
Pocknell, Pauline, "Rimbaud's Towns: A Study of their Function as Theme and Image in his Poetry" (1976). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5178.
McMaster University Library