Patti Smith, celebrated for her music and poetry, has just bought the reconstructed childhood home of poet Arthur Rimbaud. Considering Patti’s penchant for language, it makes sense that she would buy her literary idol’s former symbolic residence.
Patti Smith’s new home can be found in the quaint and quiet village of Roche, a community of just 90 people. Arthur Rimbaud’s replicated Roche home is set in the Ardennes region of France, close to the border of Belgium and just a three hour drive to Calais.
The home that Patti Smith just bought is where Rimbaud wrote one of his most famous works, A Season in Hell. Arthur’s extended poem reached nearly 100 pages and was written when he was just 19-years-old.
Arthur Rimbaud began A Season in Hell in April 1873, during a time of intense friction with his partner, Paul Verlaine, and wrote to his close friend Ernest Delahaye about his intention for this great work.
“I make small stories in prose. General title: Pagan Book or Negro Book. It is stupid and innocent. Oh, innocence! Innocence, innocence, plague!”
During a heated argument in July, Paul Verlaine shot two rounds with his revolver at Arthur Rimbaud and the gun that Verlaine used went up for auction at Christie’s last year, as the Inquisitr reported. After Verlaine was sentenced to prison for two years, Rimbaud returned to his childhood home in Roche and finished A Season in Hell in the loft of his mother’s home. His long poem was then published in Belgium in October by Jacques Poot and Co.
Patti Smith has always been very open about the profound influence that Arthur Rimbaud has had on her, and she has called in a visionary spirit, as the Independent noted.
“He was experimental, irreverent but spiritual, a visionary. Brilliant, but divided about his brilliance, he both wanted people to comprehend his work, yet at the same time he held these same people in complete contempt. And certainly he was visually appealing. When I was 16, I thought he was beautiful, he served well as an imaginary boyfriend! And of course, his work is so beautiful, it goes from cruel beauty to exquisite beauty.”
— Brian Eno (@dark_shark) March 24, 2017
Patti Smith even has a tradition of having her own Arthur Rimbaud birthday celebrations, which she does by making certain that if she happens to be playing a show that night, she will incorporate some of his poetry and words into her set.
“It’ll be a rock and roll show, but with things I’ve written that resonate around him. There’s certain works I did when, whether or not Rimbaud is referenced in them, he was in my mind, such as ‘Piss Factory,’ ‘Radio Ethiopia,’ ‘Land,’ and ‘Easter.’ And I was thinking of doing a music improvisation of one of his poems, though I’m still deciding which one it will be. I like ‘The Drunken Boat.'”
The reconstructed Arthur Rimbaud home in Roche, France that Patti Smith just bought was a project dreamed up by Jacqueline Kranenvitter and Paul Boens, as Art Net reported. Disciples of Rimbaud have been making pilgrimages to this site for years, but the replicated home has suffered damage over the years.
Now that Patti Smith has taken over ownership of Rimbaud’s old home, it will be forever preserved. The sale is reported to have taken place in February, just hours after Smith visited France to pick up the Grand Vermeil Medal in Paris.
The President of the International Association of Friends of Arthur Rimbaud, Alain Tourneux, was on hand while Patti Smith signed the papers giving her ownership of Rimbaud’s symbolic home. It is believed that Tourneux was the man responsible for informing Patti of the state of the house, which was reportedly “decaying.”
The amount Patti Smith paid for Arthur Rimbaud’s reconstructed childhood home is not currently known.
[Featured Image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]