News article and photo from The Guardian
Photograph: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images
Seven-millimetre revolver poet Paul Verlaine used in failed attempt to kill his lover fetches more than seven times its estimate.
The most famous gun in French literary history, used by Paul Verlaine when he tried to kill his lover and fellow poet Arthur Rimbaud, has sold for €434,500 (£368,000) at auction in Paris.
The price for the 7mm six-shooter which almost changed the course of world literature was more than seven times the estimate, auctioneers Christie’s said on Wednesday.
Verlaine bought the weapon in Brussels on the morning of 10 July 1873, determined to put an end to his torrid two-year affair with his teenage lover. The 29-year-old poet abandoned his young wife and child to be with Rimbaud, who would later become the symbol of rebellious youth, idolised by 1960s singers such as Jim Morrison.
But after an opium- and absinthe-soaked stay in London, which would inspire Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell, Verlaine wanted to go back to his wife. He fled to the Belgian capital to get away from Rimbaud, only for the younger man to follow him.
It was in a hotel room where, at 2pm that afternoon, Verlaine raised the pistol after the pair had rowed, cried and got drunk. “Here’s how I will teach you how to leave!” he shouted before firing twice at Rimbaud.
One bullet hit Rimbaud in the wrist while the other struck the wall and then ricocheted into the chimney.
Rimbaud refused to take no for an answer. Having been bandaged up in hospital, he begged the author of Poèmes saturniens not to leave him.
Verlaine – who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction all his life – pulled out the revolver again and threatened him with it in the street. He was arrested by a passing policeman and… – The Guardian
Continue reading on The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/30/gun-that-almost-killed-arthur-rimbaud-sells-for-435000-at-paris-auction