Rimbaud Writing on the Body: Anti-Parnassian Movement and Æsthetics in `Vénus Anadyomène'

Abstract: 

A close reading of "Vénus Anadyomène" reveals a refusal of fundamental Parnassian tenets. Even in this poem, one of his "poèmes de jeunesse," Rimbaud confronts the Parnassian ideals that keep feminine idealized beauty still by setting into motion, through the image of Venus rising from the waters, the marked woman rising from her bathtub. By reversing the motion and stasis in the traditional subject / object dialectic and by centering her beauty around her anus in a manner that recalls the "Sonnet du trou du cul," Rimbaud subverts the Parnassian model of beauty and prefigures his "lettres du voyant," which are less than a year away, through his writing on, and about, the female body. (SW)

Author: 
Whidden, Seth
Release Year:
Volume: 
1999 Spring-Summer; 27(3-4): 333-45