Arthur Rimbaud Biography (Page 3)
Escaping Poetry: The Abyssinian Era
December 1878, Rimbaud is in Lanarka, Cyprus, working as
a team leader in a stone quarry. After six months he falls ill with typhoid
fever and travels back to Roche for treatment where he's visited by his
friend Ernest Delahaye.
In March 1880, Rimbaud is back in Cyprus to supervise the
construction of the governor's residence, then working in another stone
quarry. At the beginning of August, he moves to Aden where he works for
Bardey & Co, an import/export company trading in coffee. After three months
he takes over a new agency of Bardey & Co in Harer, Abyssinia.
"(...) I regret not being married, not having a family.
But now I am condemned to wander, attached to a faraway company, and every
day I lose the taste for the climate and the manners of living, and even
the language of Europe.
Rise And Demise
From October 1885 to July 1887 Rimbaud deals in weapons,
delivering guns to King Menilek of Shewa who is waging war against the
emperor of Abyssinia. As his business partner Pierre Labatut dies of cancer
and his other partner Paul Soleillet short after suffers a deadly stroke,
Rimbaud's plans fail; moreover, he is obliged to cover Labatut's debts.
In March 1888 Rimbaud and César Tian, a trader from Aden,
open a new trade agency in Harer, selling hardware. Rimbaud's best friend
during that time is the Swiss engineer Alfred Ilg, who later becomes King
Menilek's prime minister.
In February 1891, Rimbaud checks into the European Hospital
in Aden due to intense pain in his right knee. He is diagnosed with an
advanced stage of synovitis, already developing into a cancerous tumor.
Learning that amputation is inevitable to save his life, Arthur liquidates
his business and on May 9 takes the boat to France.
On May 27 his right leg is being removed at the Conception
Hospital in Marseilles. His mother visits him but leaves again so soon
that Arthur is deeply shocked and is said to have never forgiven her.
On July 23, he travels to Roche where Isabelle is taking
care of him for a month. Then they return back to Marseilles where Arthur
hopes to receive better treatment of his worsening condition. Back in
hospital, the doctors diagnose him with a terminal stage of cancer. Rimbaud
starts to become more and more delirious. He wishes to go back to Harer
to see his servant Djami.
Arthur Rimbaud: The Legacy
Feeling the need to restore the reputation of her brother,
Isabelle spreads that he died like "a good Christian". According to Rimbaud's
last will, she intends to pay his legacy of 750 thalaris to Djami, but
as it shows that Djami has passed away, too, the money goes to his heirs.
Arthur Rimbaud's style has influenced a large number of
artists throughout the times and still continues to do so over a century
after his death.