Revealed: Rimbaud, libertine linguist

Translator revisits French poet's work 50 years on and brings to light five unknown compositions

He was the archetypal Romantic figure, a drunken libertine who inspired artists from Picasso to Bob Dylan. But Arthur Rimbaud was more than a poetic pin-up. A new anthology of the French 19th-century poet's work will include five previously unseen verses written in Latin, which show him to have been a gifted classicist.

Since his death at 37, Rimbaud has joined Lord Byron and Thomas Chatterton in the league of poets whose image often eclipses their work. Victor Hugo called him "an infant Shakespeare", though he gave up creative writing at 21 to pursue a life of decadence, indulging his weakness for travelling, drink and drugs. His affair with the symbolist poet Paul Verlaine was made into the 1995 film Total Eclipse starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Now, a new anthology of Rimbaud's work could reassert his reputation as a talented writer. Rimbaud: The Poems has been compiled by the poet and translator Oliver Bernard, whose 1962 translation of Rimbaud's work became in instant classic. Bernard is the elder brother of Jeffrey Bernard, the dissolute Spectator columnist, who inspired the Keith Waterhouse play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell.

Bernard has returned to Rimbaud almost 50 years after his Penguin anthology was published. He has added translations of five poems, which were written in Latin when Rimbaud was 14. Three of these were composed in Latin, and two translated from French into Latin. The new book includes the original and translated versions side by side. Among the new poems are L'ange et l'enfant, (The Angel and the Infant), which has been hailed as an early version of Rimbaud's first poem written in French, Les Etrennes Des Orphelins.

The new book is published by Anvil Poetry Press. Penguin excluded the Latin verses from the 1962 anthology, considering them to be mere "juvenilia". But Bernard said they will be of interest to followers of Rimbaud, as they show the young man's earliest experiments with form and grammar. "It seems to me an interesting speculation about European poetry, how many poets learnt Latin at school, from Chaucer and Rabelais to Auden and Housman and Baudelaire, and what the answer provides on the quality of their syntax, their clarity and their terseness," he said.

Peter Jay, founder of Anvil, said there is still a market for poetry to be published in the original, with a translation alongside. "Penguin seem to be moving in favour of verse translations," he says, "As a poetry publisher and a verse translator myself, I feel that's fine. But that there's still a place for this kind of bilingual edition, the original text taking pride of place with prose translations at the foot of the page."

Anvil is also preparing an edition of Francis Scarfe's Baudelaire in the same format. "The idea is that if you have a smattering of French – or Latin – you can get something from the poems with the aid of the plain translation's safety net, without constantly having to burrow in a dictionary."

Arthur Rimbaud died in 1891, but he was to influence many 20th century artists. Dylan Thomas called himself the "Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive", and fans included Alan Ginsberg, Vladimir Nabokov and Jim Morrison. Eric Cantona, the French footballer, once named Rimbaud as a hero, though this was misinterpreted as Rambo, the Eighties action movie hero, pronounced the same way.

Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?