The Evolution of Mallarmé's Social Consciousness
Abstract

It would be mistaken to consider Mallarme's Un coup de Dés as his final word. Its aesthetic emphasis is complemented by another work published in the same year, in Divagations (1897): the prose poem "Conflit." In the prose poem cycle, Mallarme added the template of a dialectical social consciousness to the ontological template of Un coup des Dés. He comes to understand the proletariat's hostility toward the unproductive poet, while realizing that bourgeois philistines exploit and are the true enemies of both. He affirms that free exercise of the imagination is a democratic right for all. He recognizes his shared humanity with the working class, and incorporates the disruptive cheminots on his rental property into a cosmic vision of a constellation, the same as in the final vision of Un coup de Dés.


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