Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of Language and Literature


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr David Elder


The aim of the thesis is to analyse nine translations of the Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud including the latest translation by Wyatt Mason. The objective is to highlight certain difficulties confronted by all translators of poetic texts. The work will highlight some of the qualities and defects in the nine translations. The thesis also aims to give some insight into the extraordinary variety of techniques used by these nine translators. The nine translations of the Illuminations that we have studied in the thesis are those by: Louise Varese (1946,1957), Olivier Bernard (1962,!997), Wallace Fowlie (1966), Enid Rhodes Peschel (1973), Bertrand Mathieu (1991), Paul Schmidt (2000), Dennis J. Carlile (2000), Martin Sorrell (2001), and Wyatt Mason (2002). A search of the literature and theses in France and elsewhere indicates that much has been written about Rimbaud, but little specifically about the translation of the Illuminations into English, and no study has ever been made comparing the nine translators which we have selected above. Given the limitations of a thesis at the Honours level, it was not possible to analyse in a rigorous manner all aspects of every one of the nine translations; more precisely, we offer to the reader some reflections concerning the nine translations, and some ideas that lead us toward a methodology. In this analysis, in order to compare the nine translations of the Illuminations of Arthur Rimbaud, we used the following analytical categories: the selection of the French edition of the work and the layout of the English translations in comparison with the original edition; the title of the work, the titles of the poems, and the order of the poems in the French and English editions; the punctuation and typographical arrangement; sound and phonostylistics; and a general category, other errors in interpretation of the Illuminations, The thesis deals with certain types of difficulties and possible solutions. In brief, the intention of this thesis is not to prove which is the best translation among those studied, but to indicate certain major problems arising from the translation of the Illuminations of Rimbaud that all translators of poetry need to bear in mind.


Abstract in English, Text in French