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  • Rimbaud and Verlaine gun to headline French auction
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • andgunRimbaudVerlaine

Rimbaud and Verlaine gun to headline French auction

The gun poet Paul Verlaine used to shoot fellow poet and lover Arthur Rimbaud in 1873 is up for auction at Christie's.

The lot will cross the block in the November 30 Exceptional sale with an estimate of $54,400-76,160.

Rimbaud Verlaine pistol
Rimbaud and Verlaine had a torrid affair between 1871 and 1873

Verlaine and Rimbaud are two of France's most celebrated writers.

They had a torrid affair between 1871 and 1873, marred by poverty and the much older Verlaine's heavy drinking.

In June 1873, following a particularly bad year spent living in London - which inspired Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, Verlaine returned to France to be with his wife and child.

He bid farewell to Rimbaud by slapping him across the face with a fish he'd bought from Camden Market.

Less than a month later he contacted Rimbaud, asking him to meet him at a hotel in Brussels.

When he arrived, they took up arguing again.

Verlaine, who was (as usual) drunk, went and bought a revolver.

He shot Rimbaud, catching him in the wrist. They straightened things out afterwards but, as the hours passed and Verlaine's behaviour grew increasingly erratic, Rimbaud approached a passing policeman and asked that Verlaine be arrested.

The gun is a remarkable piece of French literary history and is likely to prove a hot prospect for buyers.

Rimbaud is particularly venerated - a sketch he produced during his time in London made $285,600 in 2012.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • andgunRimbaudVerlaine