Selected Poetry and Prose of Stéphane Mallarmé presents what can be considered the essential work of the renowned "father of the Symbolists." Mallarmé's major elegies, sonnets, and other verse, including excerpts from the dialogue "Hériodiade," are all assembled here with the French and English texts en face. Also included (not bilingually) are the visual poem "Dice Thrown Never Will Annul Chance" and the drama "Igitur," as well as letters, essays, and reviews. Although his primary concern was with poetry, the aesthetics of Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) has touched all the arts. During the last twenty years of his life, his Paris apartment was a major literary gathering place. Every Tuesday evening, standing beneath the portrait of himself by his friend Edouard Manet, the poet addressed reverent gatherings which included at various times Paul Valery and André Gide, among many others. The American painter James Whistler was influenced by these "Mardis," and one of the best-known poems in the present collection, "The Afternoon of a Faun," inspired Claude Debussy's famous musical composition. In translation, the subtle and varied shades of Mallarmé's oeuvre may best be rendered by diverse hands. Editor Mary Ann Caws, the author of books on René Char, Robert Desnos, and various aspects of modern French writing, has brought together the work of fourteen translators, spanning a century, from the Symbolists and the Bloomsbury group (George Moore and Roger Fry) to Cid Corman, Brian Coffey, and other contemporary poets and writers.
Stéphane Mallarmé was born in Paris in 1842. A poet and critic, Mallarmé was also famous for hosting salons, gathering together poets, artists and intellectuals in his home. Among his guests were W.B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Stefan George, Paul Verlaine, and many others. For most of his life, he worked as an English teacher, working at schools in Tournon, Besançon and Avignon before settling in Paris in 1871. Among his publications are Poésies, Divagations and a French translation of the poems of Edgar Allan Poe from 1888. His groundbreaking visual poem, Un coup de Dés jamais n'abolira le Hasard (A throw of the Dice never will abolish Chance), was published in the journal Cosmopolis in 1897, and in book form in 1914. Mallarmé died in Valvins in 1898.