Following his Unfolding Mallarmé: The Development of a Poetic Art, this book is the second in Roger Pearson's authoritative two-volume study of the work of Stéphanie Mallarmé (1842-1898), and the first comprehensive study of Mallarmé's 'poetry of circumstance' in any language. For Mallarmé, in a world without God, the role of the poet is to break the silence with language and to confer upon the contingency of circumstance
a therapeutic semblance of formal and semantic pattern. Literature provides a 'translation of silence', 'intimate galas' in which the mysterious drama of the human condition is performed for and by the reader on the stage of the verse poem, the prose poem, and what Mallarmé calls the 'poëme critique'. In Part 1, Pearson examines the prose
poems within the context of Mallarmé's writing about the theatre. In Part II, he focuses on the 'circumstanzas' - the famous 'Tombeaux', 'Hommages', 'Eventails', and 'vers de circonstance' - in which Mallarmé invests the quotidian with the 'glorious lie' of poetry. In a series of close readings Pearson demonstrates how complex poetic structures, and especially the sonnet, may serve to guide the human search for meaning and shape our anguish in a 'ceremony of the Book.'
What makes Pearson a stimulating critic as well as enjoyable to read is that his approach sacrifices nothing of the complexity and texture of Mallarme, nothing of the poetry's ability to surprise and unsettle. Pearson's prose is nuanced, graceful and witty... Mallarme and Circumstance is a work of intellectual sympathy with a writer for whom poetry alone was able to make sense of a world which "has no intrinsic pattern". * Patrick McGuinness, Times Literary Supplement *
Introduction: The Poet and the Reader
Part I: Intimate Galas
1: The Poet's Milieu
2: Creating Silence: 'Le Phénomène futur' and 'Un spectacle interrompu'
3: Reading Silence: Crayonné au théâtre
4: Breaking Silence: 'La Déclaration foraine'
5: Rhythms of Being
Part II: Circumstanzas
6: A Framework for Silence: Mallarmé and the Sonnet
7: The Silence of the Grave
8: The Silence of the Object
9: The Silence of the Image
10: Sotto voce
Conclusion: Silence and the Book
Number Of Pages: 292
Published: 1st April 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.4 x 10.6
Weight (kg): 1.12