WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR
DELIRIUM COME FROM?
I need to go back a long way to find the original inspiration because the seeds of that would have been planted the day I first encountered Rimbaud.
An exhibition in the foyer of UCL – the story of a house in Camden Town and the two scruffy French poets who lived there for a few months a hundred years before. Rimbaud and Verlaine – what a pair of starcrossed lovers they were.
Without knowing anything much about Rimbaud, and without ever having read a line of his poetry, I fell in love with him. At first it was his life that intrigued me; his poetry came later.
So, thirty years later, having read as many books about him as I could find, having pored over his poetry, having visited his home town of Charleville, the idea for Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion came to me.
It was a What if? story.
An intriguing aspect of the tale of Rimbaud’s life and works was the reference to a missing manuscript. La Chasse Spirituelle – one of Rimbaud’s best poems according to Verlaine – had been lost for well over a century.
What if someone found it?
This was my starting point. My protagonist, Andrea Mann, goes to Rimbaud’s home town in northern France because she (like me) is obsessed by the boy poet. There she meets a youth who claims to have a copy of La Chasse Spirituelle.
Andrea is intrigued. What if he’s telling the truth?
And so it began.
I wrote the first chapter of Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion and the novel was born.
Next week - Part Two: Where the inspiration for Albert, The Magician came from.
Read more about Rimbaud & Verlaine in Camden Town in The Kentishtowner.
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