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Unfolding MallarméThe Development of a Poetic Art$
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Roger Pearson

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159179.001.0001

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A Mirror for the Muse (1863–1866)

A Mirror for the Muse (1863–1866)

Chapter:
(p.40) 4 A Mirror for the Muse (1863–1866)
Source:
Unfolding Mallarmé
Author(s):

Roger Pearson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159179.003.0005

In many poems and prose poems written between 1863 and 1866 one sees that Mallarmé's pursuit of formal symmetry leads to a proliferation of internal linguistic relationships which then threaten to overwhelm the referential, traditionally extra-textual function of language. A Structuralist Mallarmé is born: the creator of texts in which words derive meaning from their relationships with other words rather than from their conventional and arbitrary referents in the world. And a Post-structuralist Mallarmé is conceived: the willing, passive instrument of words which have more to say than he can ever foresee or adequately control, what in ‘Brise marine’ he calls the ‘chant des matelots’.

Keywords:   Mallarmé, poetry, internal linguistic relationships, structuralism

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