rimbaud and the paris commune

Sean Bonney was not impressed by a talk on French poet Arthur Rimbaud and the 1871 revolution in Paris

Last month, the Marx Memorial Library hosted a talk called “Rimbaud and the Paris Commune”, given by the latter-day “decadent” poet Sebastian Hayes. Hayes – whose qualification to talk about the revolutionary aspects of the poetic imagination didn’t amount to much more than having apparently hung out in Paris in 1968 – seemed to know little about Rimbaud, nothing about the Paris Commune and even less about Marx.

The most memorable part of the evening was his suggestion that Marx’s definitive account of the Commune, The Civil War in France was ‘not worth reading’ because it contains ‘too much detail’. It was also surprising to hear his claim that there had been no uprisings in France since 1968: presumably the riots in 2005, or indeed last month’s strikes – still going on while he was speaking – were not ‘poetic’ enough for him. Continue reading “rimbaud and the paris commune”