Abstract: This article examines the relationship between Mallarmé and postcolonial Antillean poetics, especially as articulated by the Martinican writer Édouard Glissant. Rather than tracing the notable flashes of Mallarmé in Glissant's work, it reads Mallarmé forward, into the postcolonial present. Glissant's notion of "creolization" suggests how a critique of ancestral roots must take the form of a poetics of chance ( hasard ). What might this imply for Mallarmé's two chief texts about chance? Igitur and Un coup de dés lend themselves to a creolized reading, one that focuses on these works' preoccupation with ancestry and their attempts to overcome this preoccupation by embracing chance encounters, vagabondage, or errancy. Igitur begins with this ambition but ultimately fails, resulting in an enclosed "encryption"; Un coup de dés tarries with this enclosure at first but then ends with an "enciphering," using its opacity to open the poem to future reconstructions and to reveal the composite, chance-driven structures underlying its poetics. This critical procedure suggests hope for redemption from the metaphysical and epistemological "abysses" that are so central to Mallarmé's and Glissant's poetics.
Nineteenth-Century French Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 4, 2017
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