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Encyclopedia > Stéphane Mallarmé

Stéphane Mallarmé (March 18, 1842September 9, 1898) was a French poet and critic. He worked as a teacher of English, and spent much of his life in relative poverty; but he was a major French symbolist poet and rightly famed for his salons, occasional gatherings of intellectuals at his house for discussions of poetry, art, philosophy. The group became known as les Mardistes, because they met on Tuesdays, and through it Mallarmé exerted considerable influence on the work of a generation of writers (see below). March 18 is the 77th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (78th in leap years). ... Events February 21 - John J. Greenough patents the sewing machine. ... September 9 is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years). ... 1898 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... The French Republic or France (French: République française or France) is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in western Europe, and which is further made up of a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. ... Poets are authors of poems. ... La mort du fossoyeur by Carlos Schwabe is a visual compendium of Symbolist motifs. ...

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Édouard Manet, Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé .

His earlier work owes a great deal to the style established by Charles Baudelaire. His fin-de-siècle style, on the other hand, anticipates many of the fusions between poetry and the other arts that were to blossom in the Dadaist, Surrealist, and Futurist schools, where the tension between the words themselves and the way they were displayed on the page was explored. But whereas most of this latter work was concerned principally with form, Mallarmé's work was more generally concerned with the interplay of style and content. This is particularly evident in the highly innovative Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard ('A roll of the dice will never abolish chance') of 1897, his last major poem. Édouard Manet (portrait by Nadar) Édouard Manet ( January 23, 1832 - April 30, 1883) was a noted French painter. ... Charles Baudelaire Charles Pierre Baudelaire (April 9, 1821–August 31, 1867) was one of the most influential French poets. ... Fin de siècle is French for End of the Century. The term turn-of-the-century is sometimes used as a synonym, but is more neutral (lacking some or most of the connotations described below), and can include the first years of a new century. ... Dadaism or Dada is a post-World War I cultural movement in visual art as well as literature (mainly poetry), theatre and graphic design. ... Surrealism is an artistic movement and an aesthetic philosophy that aims for the liberation of the mind by emphasizing the critical and imaginative powers of the subconscious. ... This article is about the art movement, futurism. ... Events January 1 - Brooklyn, New York merges with New York City. ...


Some consider Mallarmé one of the French poets most difficult to translate into English. This is often said to be due to the inherently vague nature of much of his work, but this explanation is really a simplification. On a closer reading of his work in the original French, it is clear that the importance of sound relationships between the words in the poetry equals, or even surpasses, the importance of the standard meanings of the words themselves. This generates new meanings in the spoken text which are not evident on reading the work on the page. It is this aspect of the work that is impossible to render in translation (especially when attempting a more literal fidelity to the words as well), since it arises from ambiguities inextricably bound in the phonology of the spoken French language. It can also be suggested that it is this 'pure sound' aspect of his poetry that has led to its inspiring musical compositions (see below), and to its direct comparison with music.


A good example of this play of sound appears in Roger Pearson's book 'Unfolding Mallarmé', in his analysis of the Sonnet en '-yx'. The poem opens with the phrase 'ses purs ongles' ('her pure nails'), whose first syllables when spoken aloud sound very similar to the words 'c'est pur son' ('it's pure sound'). This use of homophony, along with the relationships and layers of meanings it results in, is simply impossible to capture accurately through translation. Homophony is music in which the top line has a dominant melody, and all the voices accompany it with chords in the same rhythm. ...


For many years, the Tuesday night sessions in his apartment on the rue de Rome were considered the heart of Paris intellectual life, with W.B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Stefan George, Paul Verlaine, and many more in attendance, as Mallarmé held court as judge, jester, and king. A 1907 engraving of Yeats. ... Rainer Maria Rilke (born 4 December 1875 in Prague; died 29 December 1926 in Val-Mont (Switzerland)) was an important poet in the German language. ... Paul Valéry (October 30, 1871 – July 20, 1945) was a French author and poet of the Symbolist school. ... Stefan George (Bingen, Hesse, July 12, 1868 - Locarno, December 4, 1933) was a German poet and translator. ... Paul Verlaine (March 30, 1844 - January 8, 1896) is one of the greatest and most popular of French poets. ...


Mallarmé's poetry has been the inspiration for several musical pieces, notably Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894), a free interpretation of Mallarmé's poem L'Après-midi d'un faune (1876; Debussy's piece being written for the ballet of the same name), which creates powerful impressions by the use of striking but isolated phrases. Debussy also set Mallarmé's poetry to music in Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé (1913). Other composers to use his poetry in song include Maurice Ravel (Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, 1913), Darius Milhaud (Chansons bas de Stéphane Mallarmé, 1917), and Pierre Boulez (Pli selon pli, 1957-62). Claude Debussy Claude Achille Debussy ( August 22, 1862 – March 25, 1918), composer of impressionistic classical music. ... LApres-midi dun Faune (or The Afternoon of a Faun) (1912), is a modern ballet choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballets Russes, with Nijinsky himself dancing the Faun. ... 1894 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1876 is a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Joseph-Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer and pianist, best known for his orchestral work, Boléro, and his famous 1922 orchestral arrangement of Modest Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition. ... Darius Milhaud (September 4, 1892 - June 22, 1974) was a French-Jewish composer and teacher. ... Pierre Boulez (IPA: /pjɛʁ. ... Pli selon pli (Fold by fold) is a piece of classical music by the French composer Pierre Boulez. ...


External link

  • Mallarme.net (http://www.mallarme.net/) contains texts of most of the poems and commentary. (French)

 
 

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