The Re-Creative Modernism in Stéphane Mallarmé’s Late Sonnets, T. S. Eliot’s "Poems</I>, and the Prose Poetry since Charles-Pierre Baudelaire
Chapter Two. Form or Meaning: Stéphane Mallarmé’s Quest for Oneness through Poetic Totalization
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Stéphane Mallarmé’s Quest for Oneness through Poetic Totalization
For his late poems, Stéphane Mallarmé frequently chose generic titles. All of them are “Plusieurs Sonnets,” “Hommage,” “Tombeau,” “Prose,” “Petit air,” and “Chansons Bas.” “Hommage” is a rewording of “ode,” a traditional genre of poetry, and “tombeau” is another name for “épitaphe/epitaph.”
The other ones “Salut,” “Feuillet d’Album,” “Eventail,” “Autre Eventail,” “Toast funèbre,” and “Remémoration d’Amis belges” are also general, if not “generic” in the sense of circumscribing a genre of literature.
The three specified exceptions “Le Tombeau d’Edgar Poe,” “Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire,” and “Billet à Whistler” have only slightly developed the generic designations.
The titles involving a semantic broadness tend to be pushed into a dissipated absence: Among Mallarmé’s 30 late poems in his second and last collection published in 1899, 9 pieces are without titles. Each of the pieces gathered under the umbrella labels, “Plusieurs Sonnets” and “Chansons Bas,” may be viewed as titleless. The exclusive individualization of the early titles, kept in “Le Pitre châtié,” “Les Fleurs,” and “L’Azur,” is consistently avoided in the poet’s late project. The collection as a whole is simply entitled Les Poésies, thereby starting and concluding Mallarmé’s comprehensive oneness.1
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