Arthur Rimbaud (1854 – 1891) was a French poet who wrote some of the most remarkable poetry and prose of the 19th century. He prefigured surrealism and free verse, and was a major figure in symbolism. Precocious and miserable in provincial France, he ran away to Paris at 16, where he read voraciously and lived in alcoholic squalor, sometimes with Paul Verlaine. Widely regarded as a prodigy, he wrote all of his poetry in the space of less than five years. Before age 21, he burned his last manuscripts and is not known to have written other work. He deserted from the Dutch Army in Java, he was a quarry foreman in Cyprus, then took up the coffee and gun-running trades in Africa. Returning to France for medical treatment on his leg, he died in Marseille at 37, possibly of bone cancer.