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Translation as Oneself

The Re-Creative Modernism in Stéphane Mallarmé’s Late Sonnets, T. S. Eliot’s "Poems</I>, and the Prose Poetry since Charles-Pierre Baudelaire


Noriko Takeda

Translation encompasses the whole of humanness, and, as indicated by C. S. Peirce, translation is interpretation. It involves the cognitive process in its entirety, which is based on the unconscious life force shared globally through the species. Synonymous with «untranslatability» in the challenging ambiguity, the generic unit named modernist poetry represents the potential of human activities as incessant translations. The interactive cognateness of translation and modernist poetry is clarified through this book on the purported untranslatability of the poems by the avant-gardists, in particular, Stéphane Mallarmé and T. S. Eliot. Modernism also accelerated the reformation of Japanese poetry, as is exemplified by a new genre modeled on Charles-Pierre Baudelaire’s poetry in prose. These inspiring texts direct the reader to re-create the world with their multidimensional growth of meanings. The translation of the verbal artifacts plays a key role to the sustainability of human beings, along with their conditions as a circular whole.
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Chapter Four. Poetic as Encyclopedic: The Prose Poetry in Reunifying Enlightenment

← 66 | 67 → CHAPTER FOUR


The Prose Poetry in Reunifying Enlightenment

As a development of Baudelaire’s theorized experiment, Stéphane Mallarmé’s prose poem “Frisson d’hiver” is characterized by three stylistic features: repetition, self-reflection, and clarity.

The repetition is marked, since the tragic expression in three words “toiles d’araignées” is foregrounded by parentheses three times in the restricted framework of the snapshot narrative.

As for self-reflection, it is concretized in various forms in the poem: for instance, the dialogic structure posited by the separate paragraphs, the deictic stress on the mirroring object (“Cette pendule de Saxe”), and the intertextual retrospection.

Mallarmé’s readable poem can easily be recognized as a reworking of the prose poetry by Baudelaire, this poet of “frisson nouveau,” the qualification by Hugo since 1859.1 The notable place name in the poem, “Venise,” may be viewed as an anagram of “Paris.” Moreover, the key phrase in the Mallarmé poem, “ta glace de Venise,” represents a paraphrase of Le Spleen de Paris, the general title of Baudelaire’s collected prose poems. The word “Spleen” puns on “screen,” a sort of mirror, or “glace” in French.

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