Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880 - 91
One day in August 1880, a shabbily dressed young Frenchman disembarks at Steamer Point, in the Arabian port of Aden. He carries a brown leather suitcase; he has a touch of fever. The young man was Arthur Rimbaud, the infamous author of 'A Season in Hell', the pioneer of modernism and the lover and destroyer of Verlaine.
This is the story of Rimbaud's "lost years", the years after he turned his back on poetry, and fame, and France, for a life of wandering and obscurity in the wilds of East Africa.
Charles Nicholl pieces together the shadowy story of Rimbaud's life as a trader, explorer and gun runner in Africa and also examines the strange psychological terrain of Rimbaud's obsessive desire to escape, to disappear. For in Africa, Rimbaud seems to have lived out that mysterious pronouncement of his teenage years: 'Je est un autre' - I is somebody else . . .