November 6th, 2005


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] Collapse )