St�phane Mallarm�

St�phane Mallarm�

by Roger Pearson


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This concise biography of Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–98) blends an account of the poet’s life with a detailed analysis of his evolving poetic theory and practice. “A poet on this earth must be uniquely a poet,” he declared at the age of twenty-two—but what is a poet’s life and what isa poet’s function? In his poems and prose statements and by the example of his life, Mallarmé provided answers to these questions.

            In Stéphane Mallarmé, Roger Pearson explores the relationship among Mallarmé’s life, his philosophy, and his writing. To Mallarmé, being a poet consists of a continuous, lifelong investigation of language and its expressive potential. It represents, argues Pearson, a fundamental response to the metaphysical mystery of the human condition and the desire to make sense of it for others. A poet turns everyday banality into prospects of mystery; and a poet, in Mallarmé’s conception, is able to bring all human beings together in heightened awareness and understanding of the “magnificent act of living.”

This concise and engaging biography tells the story of a fascinating and utterly unique voice in French poetry, one that was often overshadowed by other Symbolist writers. It is an essential read for students of literature and nineteenth-century France.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781861896599
Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date: 05/15/2010
Series: Reaktion Books - Critical Lives
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Roger Pearson is professor of French at the University of Oxford.  His publications include Unfolding Mallarmé: The Development of a Poetic Art and Mallarmé and Circumstance: The Translation of Silence. He is also the author of Voltaire Almighty, which was short-listed for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Critical Moments

1  Classrooms
2  Crossroads
3  Chasms
4  Tombs
5  Tuesdays
6  Toasts
7  Dies

Epilogue: Beyond the Indies

Photo Acknowledgements

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