Modernist monstrosity in Rimbaud's verse and prose poetry

Susan Harrow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
206 Downloads (Pure)


Rimbaud's poetry and poetics contribute to the prodigious genealogy of monstrosity in Western literature and visual culture. This article argues that monster figures - whether the “familiar” terrors of iconographic tradition, horrible hybrids, or everyday bogeymen - are central to the transformative momentum of modernism in Rimbaud's verse and prose poetry. Monstrosity - multifariously embodied and endlessly morphing - generates social, cultural, and political fantasy, challenging orthodoxies, displacing structures, and empowering readers. Through the lacerating light it projects on forms of cultural constraint and aesthetic (self-) limitation, monstrosity is revealed as the force capable of re-visioning poetry and of deepening our equivocal sense of what it is to be human.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-153
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Journal of French Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • modernism
  • monstrosity
  • sensorium
  • haptic
  • acoustic
  • kinaesthetic
  • social fantasy


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