Vermilion edition,
$220 $
French edition
Large format (10 x 14'')

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Arthur Rimbaud’s endlessly fascinating manuscripts

‘Le Bateau Ivre’ (The Drunken Boat), ‘Voyelles’ (Vowels), ‘Ma Bohême’ (My Bohemia), ‘Le Dormeur du val’ (The Sleeper of the Valley)... More than a century after his death, the poems of Arthur Rimbaud continue to quench the poetic imagination of readers around the world. In leaving behind the scattered manuscripts of poems now known by heart, he continues to feed a fascination that can border on idol worship, as if the poet's handwriting conceals the secrets of his genius.

From his youthful poems to his Illuminations, including the brilliant ‘Lettres du Voyant’ (Seer Letters) and his contributions to Album Zutique - an album composed of poems written by Paul Verlaine and his friends - , the Rimbaud manuscripts reproduced in this edition present the moving traces of his most decisive moments of creation. In turn, they reveal the brilliant prize-winning pupil, the adventure-loving teenager, the scandalous enfant terrible of poetic circles who would in time become the most revered of the ‘accursed poets’.

Manuscript Roman Rimbaud

The secrets of Rimbaud's manuscripts: Verlaine’s copies

This edition presents the manuscripts of all of Rimbaud's poems known to date, some of which are in several versions. For example, ‘Le Cœur du pitre’ (Heart of a Clown) exists in three other versions, all reproduced in this book: ‘Le Cœur supplicié’ (The Tortured Heart), ‘Mon pauvre cœur’ (My Poor Heart)… et ‘Le Cœur volé’ (The Stolen Heart). Among these versions, which offer notable variations, two of them hold the distinction of being written by the hand of Paul Verlaine.

Evidently, Verlaine often made copies of Rimbaud's texts. Some of his most famous poems such as ‘Tête de faune’ (Faun’s Head) or ‘Le Bateau Ivre’ (The Drunken Boat) only exist in Verlaine’s hand. Poems that are hand-copied from Verlaine are listed in the index. Only two poems, ‘Dévotion’ (Devotion) and ‘Démocratie’ (Democracy), do not appear in the book – their manuscripts, probably lost or destroyed, have never been found.

drawing Rimbaud

A patient process of assembly and composition

In 1888, Verlaine announced that poems from the Illuminations, thought to be lost, had resurfaced. The history of Rimbaud's manuscripts, dispersed through the years and passed from hand to hand, is a catalogue of such disappearances and reappearances./p>

Highly popular among enthusiasts, some Rimbaud originals belong to collectors who choose to remain anonymous, though a large number of them are kept in European institutions and libraries. In the spring of 2018, the city of Charleville-Mézières acquired the poem ‘Patience. D’un été.’ (Patience. Of a Summer.) at auction for 187,500 euros.

In composing this edition, we started with an inventory of the poet's manuscripts and then contacted every collector, museum and institution in France, Switzerland and England. Once all the manuscripts were collected, we ordered them chronologically with the help of André Guyaux, professor at the Sorbonne, specialist in Arthur Rimbaud, and editor of his complete Œuvres published by Bibliothèque de La Pléiade. To finish, we carried out considerable restoration work to restore the manuscripts to their original splendour.

The handnumbered print run
is sold out
le tirage rouge carmin est épuisé

This Carmine red edition,
hand numbered, is sold out.

This Vermilion edition,
is unnumbered.

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The Illuminations: ‘A series of superb fragments’

The afterword by Arthur Rimbaud specialist André Guyaux, "A Series of Superb Fragments", sheds light on the fascinating history of the Illuminations. The poems assembled in this collection remain shrouded in mysteries. The title itself was given and has been passed down through Verlaine. And some of the poems, written on sheets of different sizes and not numbered, have disappeared several times …

Verlaine had feared that the fragments were ‘forever lost’ before they resurfaced. These then gave rise to several editions, incomplete at first, before reaching us today. Close reading of the manuscripts that make up the Illuminations even reveals an occurrence of the word ‘Illuminations’ – the only one in existence – in the upper left hand corner of the page bearing the poem entitled ‘Promontoire’ (Promontory).

Further surprises from Rimbaud

In the fall of 2018, an unknown letter from Rimbaud resurfaced, suggesting the possible emergence of other writings by the poet. This letter is the only letter of his dated 1874 known to exist. Addressed to Jules Andrieu, it reveals plans for an ambitious work entitled ‘Histoire Splendide’ (Splendid History) – a project imagined by Rimbaud at the time he was sharing a room with the poet Germain Nouveau in London and working on crafting several poems for his Illuminations.

The project of an ‘Histoire Splendide’ seemed particularly important to him, with the aim of painting among many things the ‘backdrop of religions, the rights of law, the harmony of our common fate’. He ends the letter of 1874 with the following words, announcing the completion of a work of which no trace has ever been found: ‘Moreover, now the matter is down on paper, I am free to make it mystical, vulgar or erudite. But the draft is indispensable.’

Arthur Rimbaud manuscript

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Mrs Dalloway: Thanks to a new reproduction of the only full draft of Mrs. Dalloway, handwritten in three notebooks and initially titled “The Hours,” we now know that the story she completed — about a day in the life of a London housewife planning a dinner party — was a far cry from the one she’d set out to write (...)

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The Grapes of Wrath: The handwritten manuscript of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, complete with the swearwords excised from the published novel and revealing the urgency with which the author wrote, is to be published for the first time. There are scarcely any crossings-out or rewrites in the manuscript, although the original shows how publisher Viking Press edited out Steinbeck’s dozen uses of the word “fuck”, in an attempt to make the novel less controversial. (...)

Jane Eyre: This is a book for passionate people who are willing to discover Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë's work in a new way. Brontë's prose is clear, with only occasional modifications. She sometimes strikes out words, proposes others, circles a sentence she doesn't like and replaces it with another carefully crafted option. (...)

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The Jungle Book: Some 173 sheets bearing Kipling’s elegant handwriting, and about a dozen drawings in black ink, offer insights into his creative process. The drawings were not published because they are unfinished, essentially works in progress. (...)

The Lost World: SP Books has published a new edition of The Lost World, Conan Doyle’s 1912 landmark adventure story. It reproduces Conan Doyle’s original manuscript for the first time, and includes a foreword by Jon Lellenberg: "It was very exciting to see, page by page, the creation of Conan Doyle’s story. To see the mind of the man as he wrote it". Among Conan Doyle’s archive, Lellenberg made an extraordinary discovery – a stash of photographs of the writer and his friends dressed as characters from the novel, with Conan Doyle taking the part of its combustible hero, Professor Challenger. (...)

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Frankenstein: There is understandably a burst of activity surrounding the book’s 200th anniversary. The original, 1818 edition has been reissued, as paperback by Penguin Classics. There’s a beautifully illustrated hardcover, “The New Annotated Frankenstein” (Liveright) and a spectacular limited edition luxury facsimile by SP Books of the original manuscript in Shelley's own handwriting based on her notebooks. (...)

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The Great Gatsby: But what if you require a big sumptuous volume to place under the tree? You won’t find anything more breathtaking than SP Books ’s facsimile of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwritten manuscript of The Great Gatsby, showing the deletions, emendations and reworked passages that eventually produced an American masterpiece (...)

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Oliver Twist: In the first ever facsimile edition of the manuscript SP Books celebrates this iconic tale, revealing largely unseen edits that shed new light on the narrative of the story and on Dickens’s personality. Heavy lines blocking out text are intermixed with painterly arabesque annotations, while some characters' names are changed, including Oliver’s aunt Rose who was originally called Emily. The manuscript also provides insight into how Dickens censored his text, evident in the repeated attempts to curb his tendency towards over-emphasis and the use of violent language, particularly in moderating Bill Sikes’s brutality to Nancy. (...)

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Peter Pan: It is the manuscript of the latter, one of the jewels of the Berg Collection in the New York Public Library, which is reproduced here for the first time. Peter’s adventures in Neverland, described in Barrie’s small neat handwriting, are brought to life by the evocative color plates with which the artist Gwynedd Hudson decorated one of the last editions to be published in Barrie’s lifetime. (...)

Customer reviews

Julia DF

Bonjour, Je possède l'exemplaire 924 des manuscrits de Rimbaud. J'ai découvert votre maison d'édition il y a peu, et je tenais à vous dire que le travail que vous faites est incroyable. Je suis très satisfaite de la qualité de l'ouvrage, et je recommande vos livres autour de moi. Peu de gens sont au courant de l'existence de votre maison d'édition, mais tous sont charmés ! Je vous ai pour ma part connu grâce à la youtubeuse Charlie Danger qui aime beaucoup vos livres et vous as fait un peu de pub sur instragram ! Un peu de communication autour de votre travail permettrait surement de vous faire connaitre un peu plus. Tous mes vœux pour cette nouvelle année. Cordialement,
Julia DF

Papoin Y

L'ouvrage est sublime et dans un format qui m'a agréablement surpris. Certes le prix est élevé mais l'ouvrage vaut ce prix.

Thibault D

Tout d’abord je voulais vous remercier pour le travail que vous faites pour nous permettre de nous plonger dans l’univers des artistes avec autant d’intimité et de simplicité.

Extrêmement satisfait de mes deux commandes. Un vrai bonheur.