Mallarme and the Art of Being Difficult

Mallarme and the Art of Being Difficult

by Malcolm Bowie


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Mallarme and the Art of Being Difficult by Malcolm Bowie

Mallarmé is widely regarded as one of the most original and distinctively modern writers of the late nineteenth century. At the same time, his fame is accompanied by a certain notoriety, and his works are often thought of as unnecessarily complicated. In this study Malcolm Bowie shows that difficulty is of the essence in a number of Mallarmé's major works, notably 'Prose pour des Esseintes' and Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard. He argues that the poems are difficult because they are concerned with complex metaphysical questions and with speculative states of mind. Their closely interwoven multiple meanings, their intricate word-play and sound-patterning invite us to read inventively on many levels at once. Professor Bowie discusses difficulty as a general critical problem, analyses several major poems in detail, and calls attention to a number of techniques for the analysis of verse. He directs the reader away from the question 'What does this poem mean?' and towards the question 'How can this poem be read fully and with enjoyment?'. The book contains the complete text of the main poems discussed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521055703
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/28/2008
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Notes on texts; Prefatory note; 1. Difficulty; 2. 'Prose pour des Esseintes'; 3. Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard; Concluding note; Appendix: the earlier version of 'Prose'; Notes; List of works cited; Index.

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