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Nineteenth Century French Studies 32.3 & 4 (2004) 413-414



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Anderson, Jill, ed. Australian Divagations: Mallarmé & the 20th Century. New York: Peter Lang, 2002. Pp. XV + 335. ISBN 0-8204-5297-1

This collection of essays comes from a conference held at the University of Melbourne in 1998 to mark the centenary of Mallarmé's death. In her introduction to the volume, Rosemary Lloyd describes how these critical and creative approaches fit into an international series of centenary events.

The first essay, by conference organizer Jill Anderson, reviews Mallarmé's influence in Australia and gives an overview of the subsequent essays, nine in French and twelve in English, to be presented here. Then four essays survey Mallarmé's relationship to several Australian authors. Rosemary Lloyd begins with Christopher Brennan, an ardent admirer of Mallarmé who corresponded and exchanged poetry with him. Analogies between the poets show how both approached the reading of a text as a departure for creative meditation.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe moves into the twentieth century to present the poetry of John Forbes as formed by Mallarméan influences. David Brocks turns to the poetry of A.D. Hope where nontraditional beauty appears in such images as that of the female giant recalling Baudelaire but where, as Hope's style develops, multiple references to other poets appear, especially to Mallarmé's enigmatic female figure of Hérodiade. John Hawke analyzes the correspondence between Randolph Hughes and Jack Lindsay where the two debated metaphysical issues closely allied to contrasting political philosophies.

Jill Anderson returns to summarize major Australian criticism on Mallarmé, beginning with the ever-present Brennan and continuing with Lloyd Austin and A. R. Chisholm. Mary Ann Caws follows the story of Mallarmé in the English-speaking world with the exemplary translations by Roger Fry. She outlines the personal and intellectual contributions Charles Mauron and the Bloomsbury group made to Fry's work. As further testimony to Mallarmé's influence, Jean-Luc Steinmetz summarizes a special number of the Nouvelle Revue Française devoted to Mallarmé in 1926 and containing the first publication of "Ouverture ancienne d'Hérodiade," a letter about her father by Geneviève Mallarmé and appreciations by Eliot, Claudel and Ponge.

Claudel's role in Mallarmé criticism continues in essays by James Lawler who examines his NRF contribution with its focus on Igitur as emblematic, in Claudel's [End Page 413] view, of Mallarmé's position at the culmination of a crisis in literature and by Claude-Pierre Perez who recounts the relationship between the two when Claudel attended Mallarmé's mardis and Mallarmé's continuing importance to Claudel despite differences in their work.

Kevin Hart relates the reflection seen in the window in "Les Fenêtres" to a scene Blanchot describes as seen through a window and revealing the emptiness beyond. And Thierry Alcoloumbre tells how an Israeli translator of Mallarmé has used the concept of windows in a series of poems of homage.

A number of authors focus on specific Mallarmé texts. Michel Deguy's plenary address to the conference examines "Le Nénuphar blanc" for its play on presence and absence in the abduction of the flower. Peter Brown sees Mallarmé's writing in La Dernière Mode as a contrast to the less frivolous ideas of poetry and yet as containing perceptions of the artifice and illusion of fashion that draw on important esthetic concepts. Alain Girard examines the sonnet "Salut" through the diverse inter-pretations of principal themes linking it to Mallarmé's other poems. Peter Hambly isolates specific phrases of "Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire" to analyze numerous possible meanings. And Jill Anderson shows how the depiction of the cleric in "L'Ecclésiastique" points toward new forms of expression in the prose poem.

The remaining studies turn toward Mallarmé's influence. Marc André Brouillette traces the evolution of Mallarmé's concern for situating the poem on the page as it recurs in the works of Anne-Marie Albiach. Fiona Caro shows how Matisse in his illustrations of Mallarmé's poems uses both simplicity and harmony to suggest...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1536-0172
Print ISSN
0146-7891
Pages
pp. 413-414
Launched on MUSE
2004-05-03
Open Access
No
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