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Arthur Rimbaud

Born in northeastern France, Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891) is widely considered the quintessential French poetHis escape at age sixteen to join the Paris Commune and his tumultuous affair with Paul Verlaine (culminating in a gunshot wound in a Brussels hotel) are the stuff of literary legend. His writings and actions over a mere five years revolutionized attitudes toward art, life, and sexualityRimbaud abandoned poetry at the age of twenty, and in his final decade he struggled to find success as a trader and gun-runner in Africa. He died of cancer at thirty-seven, having seen almost none of his work in print.