Our aim in this essay is to analyze animal life as a key topic in Rimbaud's writing. An animal thematic permeates, in effect, the whole of of Rimbaud's poetic work and its importance is evident from both quantitative and qualitative point of view. A large variety of animals are alive in Rimbaud's texts: ravens, doves, louses, fauns, tigers, panthers, wolves, cows, squirrels, toads, female dogs, flies, "golden fish", golden birds, black dogs, caterpillars, moles, hares, hyenas, scarlet pigeons, blue mares, black mares, “Mystery birds” are there to embody the poet's vitalism. In the Letter of the Visionary Rimbaud proclaims that the Poet, after having reached the Unknown, "is responsible for humanity, even for the animals; he will have to make feel, touch, hear his inventions (...)". As a "language has to be found” for this goal, ‘animals voice’ are necessary to breathe life into words. The Visionary will "possess the truth within one body and one soul", as body is a part of the soul in Rimbaud’s mystical conception of life. Poetry has to speak the language of nature and give to the body its spiritual values: Rimbaud’s bestiary, therefore, speaks about a prime dimension, where life is fullness, pleasure and astonishment. From a quantitative — and paradigmatic —point of view, we are going to note every occurrence of ‘animal items’ in Rimbaud’s work and analyze the trend of this topic which in essence is a diachronic curve; from a qualitative —and syntagmatic — point of view we are going to notice the linguistic collocation of the animals items (animals can in effect be the subject or the object of the action, or can be kept in a metaphorical network as the tenor or the vehicle of the metaphor). From an esthetic point of view we are going to utilize the results of points 1 and 2 to demonstrate the aesthetic significance of the animals’ topic.
Verna, M., Orphée, l’animal et le langage. Le bestiaire de Rimbaud,, in Verna, M., Galazzi, E., Zanola, M. (ed.), in “Tout le talent d’écrire ne consiste après tout que dans le choix des mots”, Mélanges d’études pour Giuseppe Bernardelli, Peter Lang, Berna 2015: 169- 181 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/65896]