Stéphane Mallarmé; translation and notes by Peter Manson
2012.978-1-8811-6350-3 / 1-8811-6350-3
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The Poems in Verse is Peter Manson’s translation of the Poésies of Stéphane Mallarmé. Long overshadowed by Mallarmé’s theoretical writings and by his legendary visual poem “Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard,” the Poésies are lyrics of a uniquely prescient and generative modernity. Grounded in a scrupulous sounding of the complex ambiguities of the original poems, Manson’s English translations draw on the resources of the most innovative poetries of our own time — these may be the first translations really to trust the English language to bear the full weight of Mallarméan complexity. With The Poems in Verse, Mallarmé’s voice is at last brought back, with all its incisive strangeness, into the conversation it started a hundred and fifty years ago, called contemporary poetry.
Reviews & such
- Alex Ross quoted from and praised the book in the April 11, 2016 issue of the New Yorker: “Manson, whose translation of Mallarmé’s poems is probably the most elegant, allows these lines to breathe more freely.”
- Beverley Bri Brahic reviewed Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse in the Autumn 2013 number of Poetry Review, praising the book for its “lightly worn scholarship” bespeaking “years of attention to the texts and more: work done out of passion, for the pleasure of the task.”
- David Lloyd’s review of Manson’s Mallarmé translation in The Enclave Review April, 2013
- Allison Croggon calls Manson’s translations “works of a patient and conscious art that releases its enchantment in a slow, increasingly potent vapour.” Read the full review in the October 11, 2012 edition of Overland.
- Marjorie Welish noted a “sustained grace characterizes these translations” on the Attention Span blog September 24, 2012.
- B O D Y Literature featured Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse as a “Friday Pick” on September 7, 2012.
- On August 24, 2012 London’s Financial Times called the book “a marvel of luminous precision”; read the review online here (subscription may be required).
- Barry Schwabsky posted a review of Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse on the Hyperallergic blog on July 29, 2012.
- Stephan Delbos included Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse on his summer reading list in the Prague Post on July 4, 2012.
- The Guardian reviewed Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse on June 15, 2012. The review was mentioned on Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s news blog.
About the Author
Stéphane Mallarmé was born in Paris on 18th March 1842, the son of Numa Mallarmé (1805-1863) and Élisabeth Desmolins (1819-1847). He had one sister, Maria (1844-1857). After a short spell in the Registry Office at Sens, he trained as a teacher of English, working at schools in Tournon, Besançon and Avignon before settling in Paris in 1871. He married Maria Gerhard (1835-1910) in 1863, and they had two children, Geneviève (1864-1919) and Anatole (1871-1879). He retired from teaching in 1893, and died, at Valvins (now Vulaines-sur-Seine), on 9th September 1898. His books include Poésies (limited “photolithographic” edition 1887, trade edition 1899), the prose book Divagations (1897), school textbooks on the English language (Les Mots anglais, 1878) and on mythology (Les Dieux antiques, 1879), and a French translation of the poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1888). He wrote widely on contemporary literature, visual art and theatre, and briefly became the editor of (and main contributor to) a fashion magazine, La Dernière mode (1874). His groundbreaking visual poem, ‘Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard’ (“A throw of the Dice never will abolish Chance”), was published in the journal Cosmopolis in 1897, and in book form in 1914. Works published posthumously include the prose tale Igitur (1925) and the surviving notes towards three unfinished projects: Le Livre (“The Book”, 1957), Les Noces d’Hérodiade (“The Marrying of Hérodiade”, 1959) and Pour un Tombeau d’Anatole (“For Anatole’s Tomb”, 1961).
About the Translator
Peter Manson lives in Glasgow, Scotland. His books include Between Cup and Lip (also from Miami University Press), For the Good of Liars and Adjunct: an Undigest (both from Barque Press). More information at www.petermanson.wordpress.com.