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date: 01 June 2020

Mallarmé, Stéphanelocked

  • Lucy Beckett
  • , revised by Jean-Michel Nectoux


(b Paris, March 18, 1842; d Valvins, nr Fontainebleau, Sept 9, 1898). French poet. His small and very difficult poetic output was the product of vast, unrealized ambitions for poetry as the supreme art which could, by extreme refinement and precision of language, make contact between man and the world of the ideal. In this context Mallarmé wrote of music as the abstract model of the ideal, but he regarded actual music as fixed, by the necessity of instruments and players, on a physical level that poetry could transcend. He therefore despised poetic retreat into pseudo-musical imprecision and regarded the phenomenon of Wagner with a mixture of envy and alarm (Richard Wagner, rêverie d'un poète français, 1885). More recently, his agonized conclusions on the struggle between art and chance, producing the apparent randomness of his late poems, have influenced the theory of aleatory music.

His poem ...

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Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France