Rimbaud's Ruin of French Verse: Verse Spatiality and the Paris Commune Ruins

The ruins of the Paris Commune (1871) provided genius loci for Rimbaud's Vers nouveaux; the spatial qualities of the open ruin, in concert with the spatial conditions underlying the Commune, generate a mimetic model for revolutionary aesthetics in "Qu'est-ce pour nous mon cœur." As Rimbaud defiantly strips the metrical identity of the alexandrine line, leaving only its walls intact, his "catastrophe" (Roubaud) foregrounds the spatial qualities inherent in metrical forms. Just as so many images looking out through Commune ruins constructed a new perspective, so Rimbaud imparts to the next poetic generation a view to a different verse spatiality, that of the vers libre. (DL)

Lee, Daryl.
Volume 2003-2004 Fall-Winter; 32(1-2): 69-82.