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Poetry, Politics, and the Body in RimbaudLyrical Material$
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Robert St. Clair

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198826583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198826583.001.0001

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(Departures) Natural Bodies

(Departures) Natural Bodies

(Eco)Poetics and the Politics of the Aesthetic: “Sensation”

1 (Departures) Natural Bodies
Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud

Robert St. Clair

Oxford University Press

Paying close attention to figures of flight and departure in several early poems, and in particular to “Sensation,” a short poem written in 1870, Chapter 1 re-assesses Rimbaud’s relation to Théodore de Banville and, more generally, the importance of Parnassian poetry at the end of the Second Empire. It shows how “Sensation” stages a reflection on the body and its senses (or aesthetic sensuality), on poetry and nature, that offers us a glimpse into the complex historical and poetic moment in which Rimbaud composed the poem and addressed it to Banville, exploring both Rimbaud’s relation to the politics of aestheticism and a corporeal ecopoetics in the early Rimbaud—a poetics that sees the body as fundamentally involved in the natural world as a kind of inner difference, the presence of something “naturally unnatural” the ultimate figure of which may be poetry itself.

Keywords:   Théodore de Banville, ecopoetics, nature and the unnatural, species-being, utopia, Parnassus, politics of aestheticism and disengagement

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