Performance in the Texts of Mallarm?: The Passage from Art to Ritual

Overview

Performance in the Texts of Mallarmé offers a new theory of performance in the poetic and critical texts of Stephane Mallarmé, a theory challenging the prevailing interpretation of his work as epitomizing literary purism and art for art's sake.

Following an analytical presentation of the concepts of ritual and performance generally applied, Mary Shaw shows that Mallarmé perceived music, dance, and theater as ideal languages of the body and therefore as ideal forms of ritual ...

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Overview

Performance in the Texts of Mallarmé offers a new theory of performance in the poetic and critical texts of Stephane Mallarmé, a theory challenging the prevailing interpretation of his work as epitomizing literary purism and art for art's sake.

Following an analytical presentation of the concepts of ritual and performance generally applied, Mary Shaw shows that Mallarmé perceived music, dance, and theater as ideal languages of the body and therefore as ideal forms of ritual through which to supplement and celebrate poetic texts. She focuses on previously unexplored references to supplementary, extratextual performances in four of Mallarmé's major poetic texts—Herodiade, L'après-midi d'un faune, Igitur, and Un coup de des—revealing the consistent formal expression of his original conception of literature's relationship to the performing arts.

Shaw then discusses Mallarmé's monumental project, Le Livre, a metaphysical book designed to be performed in a series of ritual celebrations. She analyzes and describes the intrinsic structure and contents of this unfinished work as the fullest realization of the text-performance relationship elaborated throughout Mallarmé's corpus. Shaw offers Le Livre as a prototype of avant-garde performance, drawing important parallels between Mallarmé's literary experimentation and crucial developments in twentieth-century arts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271026695
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Lewis Shaw is Assistant Professor of French at Rutgers University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Performance as Ritual 7
2 Music: "Le dernier et plenier culte humain" 29
3 Dance: "Rite ... enonce de l'Idee" 51
4 Theater: "Le vrai culte moderne" 69
5 Opera: "Le Monstre-Qui-ne-peut-Etre" 87
6 "La fausse entree des sorcieres dans Macbeth" 97
7 Herodiade 103
8 L'apres-midi d'un faune 125
9 Igitur 151
10 Un coup de des 171
11 Le Livre 185
12 Avant-Garde Performance 229
Bibliography 259
Index 267
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