Poet’s French Home For Sale – Poetry News November 17th

Today in our poetry news round-up we take a look at the former London home of the poets Verlaine and Rimbaud which has recently been put up for sale.

French Poets Former Home to go up for Sale

The house in London where the poets; Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud lived together, is to be put up for sale; a move that will threaten the plans that were being discussed to turn the building into an arts centre.

The 19th-century French poets had a tempestuous homosexual liaison that was scandalous at the time. They resided in the Camden house in North London for just a few short months, but it is the only property in the city where they lived that has survived.

It was whilst living in this property that the two poets broke off their relationship when Rimbaud was slapped in the face by Verlaine with a fish. The story of their lives was turned into the film “Total Eclipse” which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

The property has been placed on the market with a guide price of £1.75 million by the current owner who had previously been vocal in his support of plans to turn the property into a “Poetry House” which would hold cultural events and also be open to the general public.

The chief executive of the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation, Graham Henderson, has indicated that they were not aware of any change in this support until the property appeared on the market. They are hoping that the current owner will reconsider his decision.

On their website, the Foundation suggest that the house was to be given to them as a “legacy gift” and that they had plans to  use it for a
According to the property app Rightmove, the property was placed up for sale in October. There is no mention in the details of the house about its connection to the two poets.

8 Royal College Street has previously come to the attention of property developers when earlier this century, there was some consideration given to the idea of demolishing it and creating smaller houses on the site. Writers and other celebrities mounted a campaign to save it.

The property was purchased by the current owner in 2007, who said at the time that his intention was to restore it and then use it as a platform to promote the work of both poets.

Verlaine and Rimbaud were both in the news recently in France when a group of French politicians, writers and intellectuals called on President Macron to have their remains removed from two different French cemeteries and have them placed together in the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a memorial dedicated to such literary greats as Dumas, Voltaire, and Rousseau.

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