Word and Image in France, 1880–1926
Chapter 4 - Mallarmé, Picasso and the Aesthetic of the Newspaper 163
Chapter 4 Mallarmé, Picasso and the Aesthetic of the Newspaper Poetic Gold or Paper Money? In ‘Crise de vers’ (1897), Mallarmé wrote that the act of composing poetry ‘involves suddenly realising that an idea breaks itself down into a number of motifs of equal value, and grouping them’.1 This principle of fragmenta- tion and unity is embodied in the typographical arrangement of his 1897 poem ‘Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard’ much as it is in the assemblage of paper fragments in Picasso’s 1912 papiers collés.2 Organised across the double spread of the page, words and phrases in ‘Un coup de Dés’ belong simultaneously to dif ferent syntactic groups.3 The title, integrated into the main body of the text, and the surrounding white with which it interacts, are equally important components of the poem. The final line, ‘Toute Pensée émet un Coup de Dés’, brings the work full circle so that the 1 ‘consiste à voir soudain qu’une idée se fractionne en un nombre de motifs égaux par valeur et à les grouper’. Mallarmé, ‘Crise de vers’ (1897), Mallarmé, 1998–2003, vol. 2, p. 209. For the gestation of ‘Crise de vers’, see Chapter 1, n. 44. An earlier version of part of this chapter was published as ‘Mallarmé, Picasso and the Aesthetic of the Newspaper’ in Word & Image, vol. 22, no. 4, October–December 2006, pp. 293–303. 2 The capitalisation follows that stipulated by Mallarmé on the proofs for the abortive 1897...
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