June 19, 2020

Part of the background to this crisis is Mallarmé’s observation that although A literal translation renders a fractured incoherent verse, which. Mallarme also alludes to the idea that verse exists in the gap between what is meant and what is written—poetry adds to language the. The pure work implies the elocutionary disappearance of the poet, who leaves the initiative to words. –Mallarmé, ‘Crisis in Verse’. The reader of.

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Here are some thinking questions for the excerpt. Feel free to comment on them Stanford students: A literal translation renders a fractured incoherent verse, which yields nothingness.

I studied the words in context to the entire poem as best I could. In the end, my thoughts and feelings were different, yet similar to the translated version on the opposite page. The might of the metonymy, the metaphor, and the allegory largely used in symbolic poetry constrain the linguistic sign to transcend and self-other se faire autre.

In this latter case, the semantic prevails over the syntax. These peculiar literary devices implement what one could call transfiguration and reification, namely, they turn these dead words written on paper into some sort of alive poetic discourse. What different elements represent or mean might have some degree of universality within a culture, but between individuals, interpretations can be vastly different.

The struggle for the poet trying to communicate using symbolic language is to deliver the intended message without sacrificing the desired aesthetic.

In a way, this idea thinks of words more two-dimensional, horizontal or flat, i. What does this imply for the functions of poetry? Does it become purely decorative then?

We need to think about this more. Thanks for bringing it up.


Fireworks are a human invention, we mix them and make them into whatever color and shape we please, yet all of their ingredients are fundamentally natural chemical elements and compounds which we find in and which constitute the world around us. We manipulate them, but we are also made of them. We use fireworks as a celebration of life. They are an ostentatious display, of course, but breathtakingly beautiful.


They make us happy. Furthermore, they are ephemeral—they exist as light and sound for moments only, then as smoke-ghosts for moments longer, before they are gone. The spoken word is the same. However, there is another association being made. We do not watch the fireworks, we watch their reflections in a jewel.

Jewels refract and reflect light across all their facets, making a show perhaps more brilliant than the fireworks themselves, but also robbing us of the fireworks in truth—we have a substitute image. It seems a plausible interpretation to assign the role of poetry to the jewel, leaving fireworks to be not words but the realms of truth which can be described only indirectly.

We cannot see them, but mllarme can see—and describe, and appreciate—their reflections. Did you notice what happens to the agency here? There is no fireworks engineer behind this. What does this mean for the role of the poet here?

How does that relate to or complement the idea of the disappearance of the poet as a speaker? I see the absent flower as criisis ideal, the sublime, something that mere mallxrme and incomplete as it maloarme grant us access to. The best way to get at the essence of something is perhaps not through description, but by suggestion or symbolization …?

We will need to think about all this more; thanks for bringing it up. And if so, what does that image imply if we transpose the image back on to words and poetry? In all art, the absent negative space is important; one could argue that the negative is just as important as the positive space. A painting, a poem, a musical composition is as notable for what is not there as what is there.


Mallarmé, “Crisis in Poetry” | Oscar Wilde and the French Decadents

And a true work of art rises above its origin, above its creator. In this, it complements the idea of disappearance of the poet as speaker.

Through use of poetic features such as onomatopoeia, rhythm, dissonance, and the like, poetry becomes accessible beyond national boundaries. A mallrme, a phrase, can become the embodiment of the thing, e. How words are arranged on the page can also give us a clue as to meaning. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Notify me of new comments via email. Oscar Wilde and the French Decadents. Home About Course Blog Syllabus. Look at the metaphor of words as fireworks in that same paragraph. What do you make of that? Leave a comment Filed under Texts. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below mallsrme click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.

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