Arthur Rimbaud was born into poverty in Charleville in the Marne departement of France. The young Rimbaud was a restless but gifted student. By the age of thirteen or fourteen, he had won many prizes in literature and writing; he also composed poems and dialogues in Latin. In 1870, he met Professor Georges Izambard, who became a mentor for the young poet.
Rimbaud ran away from home in 1870, and eventually arrived in Paris, where he was forced to live on the streets. Immersed in the Parisian street-life Rimbaud began to write poetry, inspired partly by Charles Baudelaire.
Rimbaud met the poet Paul Verlaine in 1871, and moved into his house where the pair embarked on a stormy relationship. They moved to London in 1872 after Verlaine left his wife. After a particularly violent argument in Brussels, Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the wrist and was consequently sent to jail for 18 months.
Rimbaud soon finished his collection of poetry, Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell), a work regarded as being one of the first pieces of free verse. Soon after, he gave up writing and travelled through Europe before eventually becoming a gun-runner and slave-trader in Africa. It is believed Rimbaud contracted syphilis while in Africa, and returned to France in 1891 after developing a tumor in the leg. He died in Marseilles on October 10, 1891.
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