PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA cursory reading of the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud brings about an immediate awareness that classical allusion and myth were of significant interest to the poet. Biographical data indicates that Rimbaud not only excelled in the study of the Latin language and literature, but exhibited enthusiasm for the subjects. Closer scrutiny of Rimbaud's life and works reveals the emergence of patterns evident in the poetry of Vergil, especially his Aeneid. I have endeavored to locate and define thematic areas that may correlate the works of both poets, thereby indicating the presence of an epic motif structure within the body of Rimbaud's poetry that resembles, in several respects, motifs discovered within the Aeneid. My study has explored five major areas in which similarities occur: the significance of heritage, the function of journey as theme, the concept of descent into an Underworld, the quest for a city and the quest for a bride. Both poets depict man facing the challenge of pursuing lofty ideals in the actual world. Rimbaud's work suggests that the basic goals of Aeneas are still those of modern man. While it is not my intention to offer proof of literary influence, it is hoped that demonstration of a parallel motif structure may invite a spirit of inquiry regarding the significance of the occurring similarities, especially, with respect to the importance of the Aeneas myth in the modern world.
Degree ProgramFrench and Italian