Discover 3 surprising anecdotes about Rimbaud and Verlaine.

Découvrez 3 anecdotes surprenantes sur Rimbaud et Verlaine.

Cursed poets and sulphurous lovers , this is one of the most devouring love stories in the literary world. 4 years of relationship against a backdrop of absinthe drunkenness , violence and poetry: the romantic relationship between Verlaine and Rimbaud is worthy of their most beautiful writings. Famously, this relationship is chaotic in its transgression, but unique in this union between two literary geniuses, thus contributing enormously to the history of literature.

1. A rather...funny first meeting

After a brief correspondence between the two men, Verlaine is seduced by the young man and his literary pen. He invited him in 1871 to join him in Paris, a real escape for Rimbaud who felt like a prisoner in Charleville. But their meeting is rather disturbing, even embarrassing. Rimbaud, convinced that Verlaine is waiting for him at home, goes straight to the apartment where the poet lives when he arrives: Verlaine is then married to Mathilde Mauté. Now, the height of irony, the Parisian poet is waiting for him at the station. It is therefore Mathilde who meets Rimbaud before Verlaine. A catastrophic encounter, the flow does not flow between these two people from two diametrically opposed worlds. The first meeting between the two future lovers therefore takes place around a meal, in the company of Verlaine's wife and the in-laws, where Rimbaud will have fun making noise while eating and smoking a pipe upside down. . A funny encounter to say the least!

2. The story behind one of Verlaine's most beautiful verses

We are in London, in 1873. Rimbaud and Verlaine are lovers and have decided to go into exile in the British capital for a year , in order to hide their homosexuality which then caused a scandal in France. Living on love and fresh water, the poets wrote a lot and worked on their works, notably Rimbaud who probably began writing Une Saison en Enfer. However, life is not rosy within the couple, Verlaine suffers violence and mockery from a Rimbaud who is often drunk and aggressive. After yet another quarrel, Verlaine leaves on a whim to take a boat to Brussels. Verlaine, driven by despair and infinite sadness, wrote the famous verses “It cries in my heart / As it rains on the city”.

And yes, did you know that?

3. The story of their breakup, like a tremor

It was in 1873 that the most famous news item in literature took place . It has been 4 days since Verlaine returned to Brussels, and Rimbaud joined him there two days before. However, the relationship reached its violent climax . Before Rimbaud returned to Brussels, Verlaine begged Mathilde to join him and forgive him, while threatening suicide . With this in mind, he bought a revolver on the morning of July 10, 1873. Spending his day drinking, he was in an advanced state of intoxication when Rimbaud told him that he intended to leave him. In a fit of madness, Verlaine fired two shots : one on Rimbaud's wrist, the second missed.

The rest is known: Verlaine is imprisoned , and the relationship of the two lovers will end like this.

The two men still write to each other but very little. Rimbaud sends a copy of Une Saison en Enfer, upon its release, to Verlaine, detained in prison. How ironic.

If you are starting to read Verlaine and Rimbaud, we recommend the collection Parallel , Paul Verlaine's seventh collection published in 1889, a collection which pays homage to this chaotic connection.

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