Jeannette Leigh Callet The Performative Voice in Mallarmé's Poetic Reverie Of all the arts, music, an exemplary model of expressive aesthetics throughout the nineteenth century, figures most predominantly in Mallarmé's conception of poetry's communicative function.1 In his 1894 essay "La Musique et les Lettres," Mallarmé claims that music and literature together constitute in their form and content the very fabric of their mystery, the essence of which he calls "l'Idée."2 Music, a nonlinguistic code of symbols, transcends any representational value that might be attributed to it when interpreted or performed. Literature, visualized as text (not unlike a musical score), constitutes a place of aesthetic expression, in providing cognitive manifestations of the metaphysical. In the space of a Mallarméan poem, language, conceptualized as a reflection of the metaphysical Idea, functions as the agent which attempts to reveal the significance of this mysterious union and may be seen to represent both the corporeal and the spiritual since music--a performing art with reference to the body--and literature-- a performed art of the mind--make up the two sides of the coin "Idée."3 Mallarmé's fusion of music and literature exemplifies the heightened recognition of music's primacy over the other arts amongst Symbolist poets
French Forum – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Mar 24, 2003
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