Not the Best Role Models, Mind You, But Still...

For Valentines NPR ran a piece about 3 literary couples who "read each other's work with pleasure" and they included poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine:

When Arthur Rimbaud was about 17 and in search of a mentor, he sent his poems to Paul Verlaine, a published poet he admired who was 10 years his senior. Verlaine wrote back, "come, dear great soul, we call you, we await you" — and included money for a train ticket to Paris. Rimbaud did not behave well. He sun-bathed naked and joked that he would spread lice to the people around him. Verlaine's wife, perhaps not surprisingly, told Rimbaud to leave. But by then the two men had fallen in love. They moved to Brussels, then to London, where they drank, smoked and fought. In 1873, Verlaine shot at Rimbaud twice in a hotel in Brussels. One of the bullets hit the ground, but the other grazed Rimbaud's wrist. Rimbaud reported the incident to the police, and Verlaine was sentenced to two years in prison.

Despite the chaos of their lives together, it was during this time that they produced some of their best-known works. Verlaine almost finished Romances sans paroles, and Rimbaud wrote parts of Illuminations.


Tamayn Irraniah said…
Sometimes it takes passion of all kinds to make a relationship interesting. Is it wrong that I always hoped to have stories like that to tell someday? Not attempted murders so much, but just stories that would make people take notice.
Writer said…
I don't think it's wrong, Tamayn...especially if we leave off the attempted murders...but to be known for having a "great" slightly "operatic" love. :)

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