The introduction to Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud positions the work within the emergent and intersectional field of scholarship of new literary materialisms, and outlines a theory of reading the materiality of poetry (in Rimbaud and in general) as one which involves an interlocking set of relations linking texts to other texts (or, intertexts) as well as to their historical and social contexts. It seeks from the outset to demonstrate both the stakes and the method of formal analysis of Rimbaud’s early poetry which inform study overall, showing how attention to fine textual detail—and in particular to the question and figure of the body, a core surface on which Rimbaud’s radical politics and revolutionary poetics are especially legible—opens Rimbaud’s poetry up to a broader array of relations to poetic, philosophical, and indeed political issues and problems which continue to concern us today.
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