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Partridge, G.E. (1930). Psychopathological Study of Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud. Psychoanal. Rev., 17(4):401-425.

(1930). Psychoanalytic Review, 17(4):401-425

Original Articles

Psychopathological Study of Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud

G. E. Partridge, Ph.D.

The chief sources of materials for this study are Beston's Book of Gallant Vagabonds and Edgell Rickword's Rimbaud: the Boy and the Poet (1924). I have examined also the memoirs written by his sister, which seem more appreciative than expository, and one of the French biographies. The study is an item in an attempt to follow out in some of their wider social implications the types of maladjustment we find in our so-called psychopathic personalities. Rimbaud did not to any great extent affect the development of French national consciousness, although his connection with communism may have had its results. With a little different setting or incidence in time, however, he might have been a powerful force.

Beston has given a kind of literary sanction to the psychopathological approach to the study of the life of Rimbaud by including him in his Book of Gallant Vagabonds. There is other justification for this, since there is much in the career of the poet that is akin to the maladjustments we find often in our psychopaths. For such a study he has one unique value: as observed by Rickword, a remarkable feature is that precocious intellectual development and his possession of a highly developed literary technique placed him on the spot, as it were, as a competent witness and interpreter of the adolescent changes as they took place in his mind. Few have been so endowed. Rimbaud, before he had reached nineteen had finished his literary career, leaving a deeper impression upon French literature than any other man of his time.

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