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Stéphane Mallarmé Self-Appointed Publisher of His Own Work: 1865-98, the Editorial Epic of The Afternoon of a Faun

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For Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98), the making of the ideal book, which will evolve into a whole, begins with a sentence and is both a writing and publishing process which the poet must fully assume and control in order for the vessel to convey its necessary two dimensions or meanings, both material and poetic. The editorial epic of The Afternoon of a Faun (1865-98), provides a unique standpoint to observe that absolutist and innovative view of the book as a formal and substantive aesthetic unit, as a strategic site for encouraging a modern public to actively partake in the creative act leading to radically empowering reading experiences that anticipate interactive media prevalent in today’s culture. The study indeed retraces and exhibits the aesthetic concepts invested in the poet’s work, leading to a formal specific layout of the book and a taste for lavish editions that not everyone was ready to understand or to comply with – thus the unstable, often stormy relationships and lingering competition between renowned authors and their publishers – at a time, the end of the nineteenth century, where the latter have not reached the autonomous or even domineering position of their twentieth-century’s counterparts as co-author or influential master of authors’ fate.

Affiliations: 1: Université du MaineLe MansFrance


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