Academic journal article Transnational Literature

Rimbaud's Cities I / Magic Lantern Slides

Academic journal article Transnational Literature

Rimbaud's Cities I / Magic Lantern Slides

Article excerpt

Its true acropolis, beyond the wildest ambitions of latter-day barbarism- Indescribably bleak, this day it makes- Immoveable clouds, imperial mansions built on lasting snow- With a fetish for the grandiose, they've reproduced catalogues- Every classical monument- Hampton Court, the size of a replica under glass in some regional gallery- But what paint! Some Nebuchadnezzar of ice dreamt up these ministerial staircases- Civil servants vanishing into the background of their status-bureaucrats and overseers with faces of stone- A city of squares, courtyards, walled terraces closing its drifters out- And its parks, perfected replicas of wilderness- Overhanging it all, strangely, a strip of sea, deserted, unrolls its canvas of soft hail between two piers hung with oversized candelabras- A narrow bridge, a side gate opens directly into the Cathedral- 'This vaulted dome of fine-wrought steel, fifteen thousand feet around'-From certain angles on its gilded walkways, viewing platforms, the spiral stairs enclosing its marketplace and columns, I had some idea that I could see into the city's depths- Always something outof-scale, though, in its dissolving views- What existence do they have, these other suburbs layered over and under the acropolis? …

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