Philosophy or Philology? Barnaby Norman. Mallarmé’s Sunsets: Poetry and the End of Time. London: Legenda, 2014 [Review article]
journal contributionposted on 23.05.2017 by Christian R. Gelder
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Outside of Mallarmé studies, Mallarmé is a proper name often invoked to signify something vague, something or perhaps someone foundational, but no doubt important to the other proper nouns and names that populate the academy: Philosophy, Literature, History, but also Hegel, Blanchot, and Derrida. Inside of Mallarmé studies, by contrast, scholarship over the past thirty years or so has sought to relinquish the properness of Mallarmé’s proper name. Whether by revisiting his supposed “difficulty” to show the absolutely egalitarian nature of his poetics or by situating him against his immediate competitors, interlocutors, and adversaries to tease out the specific influences on his poetry, recent readings of Mallarmé have reconstructed both his life and thought in its philological richness; attempting to demystify the otherness of a poet too often thought to have wandered more lonely than a cloud.