Arthur Rimbaud / Kurt Cobain (ENFJ / INFJ split)

Hey all!

I’ve been away for a while but found myself returning constantly to the forum. I wanted to start a discussion about the French poet Arthur Rimbaud and what his type might’ve been. I’ve read a lot about his life, what kind of person he was, and–of course–his poetry. Based on all of these things, I’m leaning toward ENFJ. He seemed to always be on the move, craving experience to fuel his writing. He didn’t seem to give a damn about anything else. There was a need in him to change and switch perspectives constantly, to challenge his own consciousness for the betterment of his poetry. Nothing else seemed to matter until he decided to completely change who he was and become a very successful business man–quitting his poetry, never to write again.

I wanted to get anyone else’s thoughts who might be interested in this topic. What do you guys think?

Hi, Alex. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of research. Can you elaborate more on why you think he’s an ENFJ? Did you always think ENFJ? Or were you initially thinking one way, then changed?

Interesting character. Impressed with his wanderings and works. No, I’d not heard of him to my recollection but looked into him when you posted this. Yes, I live in cave.
Feel like I’d need to know more. I saw there was a movie about him. Did you like it?

Yeah, I agree with you, although I think I’ve typed him reflexively as INFJ before. Now that you said that, I think he was likely a enneatype 3 ENFJ. He looks it.

Here is more sorta unmistakable enneatype 3 ENFJ look from Rimbaud as child.

And another


However, that being said, I still see INFJ in him. So, he may be an ENFJ with INFJ Moon (or rising even) or an INFJ with E3 ENFJ rising. He certainly looks like an E3 ENFJ, which could be a rising impression. And as you said in his life and behavior he has more E3 ENFJ traits than INFJ ones. But he does have INFJ traits too. I’d call him a very INFJish ENFJ. Very histrionic and intense.

Leo Dicaprio who played Rimbaud in Total Eclipse movie has that same E3 ENFJ look (of the blonde blue-eyed variety). I also think Dicaprio has some INFJ subtype in him too. Axl Rose would be another example. Histrionic as fuck. Axl I type as E3 ENFJ with definite INFJ moon position. It’s a wild combination!

Rimbaud’s poetry captures the flavor of that combination. Wild!

I remember reading the following excerpt from A Season in Hell when I was a teen:

“I saw myself before an infuriated mob, facing the firing squad, weeping out of pity for the evil they could not understand, and forgiving!-Like Jeanne d’Arc!-‘Priests, professors, masters, you are making a mistake in turning me over to the law. I have never belonged to this people; I have never been a Christian; I am of the race that sang under torture; laws I have never understood; I have no moral sense, I am a brute: you are making a mistake.’

Yes, my eyes are closed to your light. I am a beast, a nigger. But I can be saved. You are sham niggers, you, maniacs, fiends, misers. Merchant, you are a nigger; Judge, you are a nigger; General, you are a nigger; Emperor, old itch, you are a nigger: you have drunk of the untaxed liquor of Satan’s still.-Fever and cancer inspire this people. Cripples and old men are so respectable they are fit to be boiled.-The smartest thing would be to leave this continent where madness stalks to provide hostages for these wretches. I enter the true kingdom of the children of Ham.”

It blew me away! I had never seen any writing that wild before.

“Sang under torture” stuck with me for the longest time. Wow.

For comparison, I think Kurt Cobain was an INFJ with enneatype 3 ENFJ rising. He has that E3 ENFJ look but was definitely not an ENFJ as his main type. He was as INFJ as they come. But, his life and work is a good example of the INFJ mixed with E3 ENFJ combo. Wild, graceful, beautiful, and so intensely romantic and yearning. I would say things reach a fever pitch of expression with this combo.

And here is the beautiful Kurt Cobain. What a beauty!


That’s my boy Kurt! I’ve always felt him and I are kindred spirits, we have the same birthday lol.

Blake are you saying that INFJs are more histrionic than ENFJs?

Yeah Cobain seems enfj on first impression. I would have guess enfj lol. Oho now tempted to go watch interviews of him…

Although in that pic you’ve got he has faraway look

No, but having INFJ combined with E3 ENFJ certainly does nothing to subdue that feature of the latter’s temperament. :muscle:

I watched the few interviews of Kurt Cobain. Just to see another example of infj. He does have that guarded reaction infj artists have when you start asking about what their work means or what personal stuff it’s based on etc or try to make them stand for something. Also I am surprised how many people describe him as chill because although he as a relaxing demeanor for the person he’s talking to maybe he seems restless and intense as well. He seems at the same time more open compared to many infjs. Lol all those things. Like he seems almost xxsp at times.

That’s the superficiality of the Millennial generation in full swing. And indeed of most people. Very superficial assessment. Kurt Cobain was anything but chill.

You can tell just by observing him that there was always a raging storm below the surface. He kept it hidden pretty well, but anyone with a couple ounces of perception can tell he always seemed to be battling a personal hell–so no lol not very chill…

I have to confess that Rimbaud leaves me cold. I don’t care what type he is.

I have in interest in learning French and an interest in poetry, so I read a lot of French poetry. I even memorized some Rimbaud and promptly forgot it a few weeks later. I don’t even remember what I memorized.

To be fair, a lot of French poetry left me wanting. It’s probably a language barrier. I have a small ability to read French but definitely not enough to read their poets without translations. Baudelaire didn’t do much for me either. The French language seems superficially pretty enough on its own that in poetry it becomes sickly sweet. Dessert on dessert. Decadent. Unlike in English where a plain and at times harsh language can be pressurized into a glimmering jewel. The French have some of the world’s finest philosophers, but the Anglos have no great philosopher. Anglo philosophers become poets instead. French poets are something else.

Rimbaud is decadent and he lacks irony. He’s definitely a teenager. He says outrageous things with a total seriousness. He means it! It’s really too bad he stopped writing. He’s held in such a high regard because he wrote beautiful things while so young, but it’s still a juvenile output. Probably the best juvenile writing ever. But still juvenile.