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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 Quest for Authority

The Quest for Authority

(p.271) 3 The Quest for Authority
Unfolding Mallarmé

Roger Pearson

Oxford University Press

It would be a mistake to think that ‘Un coup de Dés’ is simply about thought as the experience of mental wandering or that its main concern is to represent the way in which thought is composed of central strands accompanied with varying degrees of relevance by subsidiary notions, qualifications, and afterthoughts. Or rather such a reading is convincing only if we recognize that for Mallarmé thinking and writing are synonymous. The poem's final constellation — ‘Toute Pensée emet un Coup de Dés’ — reaffirms the Mallarméan thesis, both by the capitalization of ‘Pensée’ (as in a writer's published ‘Thoughts’) and by the verb ‘émetre’, that thought is a linguistic act. Accordingly any ‘pensée’, be it a ‘thought’, an intention, or an aphorism, is an encounter with the contingency of language, however greatly cherished as an incontrovertible truth.

Keywords:   Mallarmé, poem, Un coup de Dés, thought

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