concerning the lives of stéphane mallarmé on and off the isle of ptyx

― in living memory of my father    

    Il n’existe que trois êtres respectables :
    Le prêtre, le guerrier, le poète. Savoir, tuer et créer.
    Les autres hommes sont taillables et corvéables, faits pour l’écurie, c’est-à-dire pour exercer ce qu’on appelle des professions.
    — Charles Baudelaire, Mon cœur mis à nu
    There exist but three respectable beings:
    The priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, to create.
    The rest of men belong to the fatigue party, made for the stables, in other words for the practice of that, which is called professions.
    — Charles Baudelaire, My heart laid bare[0]

Stéphane Mallarmé began his career in nearly devotional emulation of the ill-fated cultivator of les fleurs du mal. Notwithstanding the affinities of his ethos, his destiny was to differ in one significant regard. Or so he insisted in a letter to his friend Henri Cazalis, written in October of 1862:[1] Continue reading concerning the lives of stéphane mallarmé on and off the isle of ptyx

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    Afin de jouir d’une oeuvre qui joignît, suivant ses voeux, à un style incisif, une analyse pénétrante et féline, il lui fallait arriver au maître de l’Induction, à ce profond et étrange Edgar Poe, pour lequel, depuis le temps qu’il le relisait sa dilection n’avait pu déchoir.     To enjoy a literary work that adjoined, according to his wishes, to an incisive style, a penetrating and feline analysis, he had to get to the master of Induction, that profound and strange Edgar Poe, for whom, since the moment when he started re-reading him, his devotion could not have declined.


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