Stéphane Mallarmé

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Stéphane Mallarmé (Paris, March 18, 1842 – Valvins, September 9, 1898), whose real name was Étienne Mallarmé, was a French poet and critic. He worked as an English teacher, and spent much of his life in relative poverty; but he was a major French symbolist poet and rightly famed for his salons, occasional gatherings of intellectuals at his house for discussions of poetry, art, philosophy. The group became known as les Mardistes, because they met on Tuesdays, and through it Mallarmé exerted considerable influence on the work of a generation of writers (see below).

His earlier work owes a great deal to the style established by Charles Baudelaire. His fin-de-siècle style, on the other hand, anticipates many of the fusions between poetry and the other arts that were to blossom in the Dadaist, Surrealist, and Futurist schools, where the tension between the words themselves and the way they were displayed on the page was explored. But whereas most of this latter work was concerned principally with form, Mallarmé's work was more generally concerned with the interplay of style and content. This is particularly evident in the highly innovative Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard ('A roll of the dice will never abolish chance') of 1897, his last major poem.

Mallarme, Stephane, 43, 299 Ecrits