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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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The Song of the Siren: ‘A la nue accablante tu’ (1892–1894)

The Song of the Siren: ‘A la nue accablante tu’ (1892–1894)

(p.223) 4 The Song of the Siren: ‘A la nue accablante tu’ (1892–1894)
Unfolding Mallarmé

Roger Pearson

Oxford University Press

Mallarmé used the Shakespearean form and the heptasyllabic line exclusively when writing in or for particular ‘circonstances’: as a contribution to a private album, to celebrate a baptism, upon a fan, etc. As such they represent a lower poetic register than the alexandrine, the octosyllabic, and the Petrarchan form of the sonnet. ‘A la nue accablante Tu’ was the last octosyllabic sonnet written by Mallarme which was not composed for a particular occasion or ‘circumstance’. The very form of the octosyllabic sonnet serves to make punctuation superfluous and, within it, spatial organization provides a powerful complement to syntactic relationships. As such, ‘A la nue accablante tu’ (with its solitary parenthesis) marks the culmination of an experiment with the octosyllabic sonnet which began with the unpunctuated ‘M'introduire dans ton histoire’ (1886) and which was to prove an important source of the revolutionary prosody of ‘Un coup de Dés’.

Keywords:   Mallarmé, octosyllabic sonnet, Shakespearean form, heptasyllabic line, Un coup de Dés, prosody

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