n French Studies in Southern Africa - H (Voyelle)

Volume 2010, Issue 40
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



Critics usually see in one of Arthur Rimbaud's most obscure prose poems, , an allegory of masturbation, disguised here as a timeless feminine figure whom the poet calls Hortense and whose identity the reader is invited to discover. But such a name refers to gardens, plants and flowers (), and thus connects this poem to many other of Rimbaud's verses, where such a link exists between flowers and sexuality. It would appear that is but a rewriting of , a sonnet often seen as Rimbaud's masterpiece. Behind the enigmatic prose poem about auto-eroticism we find a mere display of autotextual degradation: the poet touching up his own verses.

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