Selected Letters of Stephane Mallarme

Rosemary Lloyd, Editor, Stephane Mallarme, Author
Rosemary Lloyd, Editor, Stephane Mallarme, Author University of Chicago Press $55 (265p) ISBN 978-0-226-48841-7
Reviewed on: 08/16/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
If you suspect that Mallarme, the French Symbolist poet, wrote letters as aloof and impersonal as his chiseled verse, you are entirely wrong. His letters are playful, passionate, moody, generous, tender. They reveal both the mature poet and a sensitive, complex human being. Mallarme on childrearing: ``I don't rejoice in all the charm that floats around a cradle.'' This selected correspondence records his months-long spiritual crisis, his languishing in the provinces where he endured a teaching job to support his family, the death of his son, his elation at securing a post in Paris, a love affair. The poet's preoccupation with music, art and literature comes across in letters to Zola, Manet, Swinburne, Claudel, Huysmans, Morisot, Whistler, Redon, Gide. Lloyd, who edited Baude laire's Selected Letters , has done an admirable job. Her nimble translations prove that Mallarme, the supreme poetic stylist, also wrote lovely prose. This is said to be the first selection in English of his correspondence. (October)
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