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The Formal Rhythms of Mallarmé's Faun

Author(s): DAVID J. CODE
Source: Representations, Vol. 86, No. 1 (Spring 2004), pp. 73-119
Published by: University of California Press
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D A V I D J. C O D E

The Formal Rhythms
of Mallarme´’s Faun
The poetic fact itself consists of grouping, rapidly, in a certain number of equal strokes,
in order to bring them into focus, certain thoughts which otherwise would be distant and
scattered; but which—this is what is striking—rhyme together, so to speak. It is thus
necessary, above all, to employ the common measure, which must be applied; in other
words, the Verse. The poem remains brief, and is multiplied to form a book; its fixed
order creates a norm, as does the verse.1

N     be written about Ste´phane Mallarme´
and poetic rhythm in the simplest sense of the term. After all, this poet, endlessly
celebrated for his initiatory modernism and his anticipation of the theoretical concerns of post-structuralism, nonetheless continued to negotiate with classical meters from his years as a lyce´en through his last refractory sonnets in octosyllables and
alexandrines. Detailed attention to his prosody could well further the attempt to
recover the historical perspective on his oeuvre that is so often lost when his criticism
is given pride of place over his verse and selectively sampled as the foundation of
later literary theory rather than as attendant musings on a pratique poe´tique.2
It would be easy to find preliminary purchase for such attention in Mallarme´’s
own comments on prosodic rhythm—as, for example, when he writes:
All the same, the Parnassians’ caution is not without value: it provides the point of orientation between the resurgence, in all audacity, of romanticism, and freedom; and demonstrates (before versification dissolves into something identical to the primitive keyboard of
words) an official game, submitted to the fixed rhythm.3

Of course, Mallarme´’s placement of Parnassian poetry between a fallback to romanticism and the (excessive) prosodic ‘‘liberty’’ that might lie ahead is, in itself,
entirely unsurprising. But his fine metaphor of the ‘‘primitive keyboard’’ of language that will remain after ordered prosody ‘‘dissolves’’ might usefully comple

The eclogue L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune has long been seen as a breakthrough to the mature
‘‘symbolist’’ phase of Mallarme´’s oeuvre. Cliche´s about the ‘‘mystery’’ essential to symbolist poetic style have,
however, forestalled rigorous analysis of the work’s structure. Exposing a formal ‘‘rhythm’’ that draws the
strophic sections into a pattern of virtual ‘‘folios and bifolios,’’ this article reads the faun eclogue as a secret model of ‘‘le Livre,’’ ‘‘the Book,’’ lodestar of Mallarme´’s aesthetic project. In giving new focus to the
work’s pointed dialogue with classical Virgilian pastoral, this reading also draws on Benveniste’s writings
about linguistic subjectivity to understand its enactment, through the character of the faun, of an agonistic
search for voiced presence. / R            86. Spring 2004 䉷 The Regents of the University of
California.     0734-6018, electronic     1533-855X, pages 73–119. All rights reserved. Direct requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content to the University of California Press at


ment the more famous announcement of poetic ‘‘crisis’’ in his Oxford lecture,
whose most succinct statement hints delicately at the same metaphor: ‘‘on a touche´
au vers.’’4 His approval of the Parnassians’ ‘‘caution,’’ in other words, might be taken
to imply that the best way to position his poetry in history is to reattune ourselves to his ‘‘touch’’ with le vers, the official constraint that can (still) keep poetry
from falling away into vapid improvisations on undifferentiated verbal ‘‘keys’’
Rhythm in this simple sense will indeed play a central role in my reading of
L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune, long celebrated as a pivotal work in Mallarme´’s attainment
of stylistic maturity. Indeed, an investigation of this poem’s rhythmic ‘‘touch’’ would
be highly appropriate, given that Mallarme´, years later, claimed to have composed
into the verses of its last prepublication version, the 1875 Improvisation d’un faune, a
‘‘running pianistic commentary’’ on the alexandrine.5 But in my attempt to reinsert
the faun poem into its historical moment, I will only arrive at detailed considerations of Mallarme´’s ‘‘fingering’’ on the measured syllables of le vers by focusing first
on his rhythm at a wider formal level of the text.6 The rhyming alexandrines of
L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune are organized into strophes whose formal array may seem,
at first glance, to lack any unifying pattern. The series of strophes can, however,
actually be shown to fall into pairings and gatherings that mimic, in poetic structure itself, the form of le Livre, lodestar of Mallarme´’s aesthetic. To imagine lifting
and assembling this virtual ‘‘book’’ while reading—to imagine thumbing through
its rhythm of folios and bifolios ‘‘fold by fold,’’ as it were—is to be led to experience,
at the center of the foliated form, a moment in which the poet’s touch with le vers
brings into tangible focus a particular moment in the history of his art.
The structural sense of rhythm that underpins such a reading can find deep
etymological justification if we recall Emile Benveniste’s argument that the archaic
Greek rythmos, before it accrued its later (Platonic) associations with measured motion, originally bore the slightly different meaning of ‘‘distinctive form, proportioned figure, arrangement, disposition.’’7 Benveniste elaborates with imagery that
can further enrich our sense of virtual feuillets within the faun poem’s dispositional rhythms:
The root of ‘‘rhythm’’ . . . designates the form in the instant that it is assumed by what is
moving, mobile and fluid, the form of that which does not have organic consistency; it fits
the pattern of a fluid element, of a letter arbitrarily shaped, of a robe which one arranges
at one’s will, of a particular state of character or mood.8

This emphasis on the ‘‘mobile’’ and ‘‘fluid’’ aspects of rythmos suggestively parallels
Mallarme´’s many attempts, in his own criticism, to negotiate the balance between
‘‘fixity’’ and ‘‘mobility’’ in the relationship he often poses between poetic structure
and le Livre.
I have, for example, chosen for my epigram one particularly decisive comparison of the ‘‘fixed order’’ of verse to the pagination of a book. Rather more typical,


R           

in its equivocation between static ‘‘measure’’ and dynamic process, is the formalist
variation of the keyboard metaphor through which Mallarme´ exhorts the reader,
elsewhere, to approach his poetry like ‘‘pieces at the keyboard, active, measured by
folios ( feuillets).’’9 Most intriguing of all, perhaps, is the passing mention, in one
obscure instance, of ‘‘the intervention of folding, or rhythm,’’ which might be said
to attach Mallarme´’s ideal of le Livre, with its formal-conceptual folds of paper, directly to the archaic sense of rythmos Benveniste so compellingly associates with the
loosely arranged folds of a ‘‘robe.’’
Still, these arbitrary gleanings from Mallarme´’s prose should not be understood as justifications before the fact for a reading that (willfully) seeks a rythmos of
folds in the faun poem. I offer here, instead, an example of the ways an analysis of
the poetry can illuminate the criticism. ‘‘The Book,’’ as it is repeatedly invoked in
Mallarme´’s writings, has often been taken as a purely metaphysical figure for the
unattainable—in other words, to put it simply, either as a symbol of the overweening ideal that doomed his literary labors to agonized incompletion, or, conversely, as
the all-encompassing goal that, in its own endless postponement, provided constant
motivation for the obsessive, compressed, fragmentary oeuvre he did in fact create.
These and other more theoretical interpretations aside, I suggest that after paging
through the virtual feuillets of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune, we may be able to recognize,
behind many of Mallarme´’s invocations of le Livre, something more substantive,
more tangible, and more fully achieved than can be seen from any purely metaphysical standpoint.10
It might seem surprising that such grandiose conclusions could still be derived
from one of Mallarme´’s best-known poems. But it is typical of the Mallarme´ literature, on the whole, that while many of the best glosses of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune aid
greatly in the attempt to understand the vague narrative, none say much about
structure, beyond an occasional acknowledgment that its 110 lines fall roughly into
two halves.11 Even Roger Pearson, whose analyses of the shorter poems in his 1996
book Unfolding Mallarme´: The Development of a Poetic Art are more attuned to structure than many others, finds in the poem as published in 1876 a greater formal looseness than in the 1875 Improvisation:
The previously approximate binary structure continues to be approximate (rather than numerically precise), and the central division of the poem (between ll. 51 and 52 in both the
Improvisation and the Eglogue) is now less pronounced within an otherwise more fragmented,
apparently ‘‘improvised’’ structure.12

Pearson’s readiness to overlook the analytical implications of Mallarme´’s change of
title, from the vague Improvisation to the more generically precise Eglogue, implicitly
endorses a common cliche´ about the poet’s artistic development. The greater ‘‘fragmentation’’ he finds in the 1876 poem, that is, is exactly what we would expect given
Mallarme´’s supposed progression toward the more rarefied ‘‘mystery’’ always seen
as typical of his mature ‘‘symbolism.’’
The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun


16 No doubt support for this attribution of diffe´rance to the spoken level of the poetry could be found in Mallarme´’s criticism. for example.Although genetic considerations will be secondary to my argument. of course. however. But a deconstructive approach to speech and writing in L’apre`s-midi d’un faune is anachronistic in the most problematic sense. partly derived from Mallarme´) to deflect them from the poem’s selfconsciously classical instantiation of this dichotomy. Most fundamentally. of late. More richly. adapt them. for it makes impossible a recognition of its manipulation of lyric conventions—address.15 Pearson. murmur them. try placing unexpected silences between them. in Virgil. Reading as the faun. ‘‘LE FAUNE. nonetheless interprets what he sees as the conflict in Mallarme´’s Eglogue between ‘‘the calm control of a written text’’ and ‘‘the unruly noise of spoken verse’’ in ways that develop the Derridean inflection of the following methodological assertion: We must. verbal music—as itself a finely formed confrontation with the ‘‘agon’’ of a 76 R            . ‘‘remember’’ their past. like the poet. and its factual inertness as writing on a page. which is deeply contradictory on this issue (as on many others). Often noted as an obvious signal of the poem’s many pointed echoes of Virgil’s archetypical Eclogues. Mallarme´ both follows and significantly alters the convention. we are invited to experience directly the division between printed poetry’s illusory promise of materialized speech. by identifying an unconventional dramatic speaker. A conflict between speech and writing has occasionally been recognized as one theme of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune. and thereby discover ‘‘de voeux intellectuels une spe´culation diffe´rente. in other words.14 This relationship is encapsulated. apostrophe.’’ and thus to experience a similar division in the encounter with poetic language itself.13 And indeed. demand a reappraisal of such cliche´s about the travail de mallarme´isation (as Ge´rard Genette called it) undergone by the faun poem through its various stages of revision. But even the best critics have. Eglogue. The divided body of this exceptional pastoral ‘‘character’’ can be seen as an obvious symbol of the mind-body duality he experiences in his pursuit of two nymphs. Mallarme´’s generic subtitle highlights a response to Virgil that unfolds at a deeper level than pastoral imagery alone. by his designation of each of his Eclogues as the words of named speakers. who begins his book by distancing himself from Derrida. allowed Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of traditional ‘‘logocentrism’’ (which was.’’ for his own Eglogue. by creating clearer imagery and finer precision of form. I will indicate a few revisions that.’’ a different (and deferring) way of mirroring intellectual intentions. let the words of the text play upon our own lips. it might be taken as a summons to the reader to take this ‘‘role. the subtitle implicitly marks Mallarme´’s own concern with the elusive generic relationship between lyric and dramatic verse that he experienced as irresolvably problematic from his first inklings of the faun project in 1865. one key to an appreciation of the last version’s tighter formal focus is its new subtitle.

23 The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 77 . The 1876 Eglogue.17 Indeed. through his own thoroughgoing adaptations of Theocritus’s Idylls. rhythmic structuring of all the unstable oppositions—speech and writing. again and again.21 But such pretheoretical naivete´ can serve to highlight. is exemplary). in other words. in his characterization of poetry as ‘‘the most judicious way of speaking. in its flower. whose references to the ‘‘naive’’ Theocritean wellspring of the pastoral tradition are just as well-attested as its nods to Virgil. speech. thus takes its place behind the mature oeuvre as the first intensive. character. In this confrontation the advantage always returns to the spoken. the humbler—more touching—poetic ideals evident in his election of the ‘‘conversational tone as the supreme limit’’. Mallarme´ might well be said to take a stance as a latter-day Virgil. as well as his particular adjectives. which struck all hearers with its direct. under the sign of the unattainable Livre. appropriate to a given epoch’’.‘‘crepuscular moment’’ (in Pearson’s apt description) in the history of classical logocentrism. Mallarme´ was a great speaker. again. alongside the (Virgilian) writerly obscurity usually taken to represent Mallarme´’s deepest motivations.’’19 Appropriately enough. and with its clarity. are reminiscent of countless classicist paeans to Theocritus’s originary—clear.’’22 In following the faun’s pursuit of intimate speech through the feuillets of his Eglogue. by comparison with the immediacy and fullness of Theocritean lyricism Virgil’s pastoral poetry must be recognized as ‘‘modern. while he ‘‘may love the countryside. presence and absence. a virtual book poised between the physical and metaphysical dimensions Scherer distinguishes in the later sketches. first editor of the sketches many take as preliminary jottings for le Livre itself. direct. As Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve once put it. It is not easy to grasp the connection between this exceptionally sober and restrained—and also extremely obscure—writing style and this speech. we should recall that the sketches Scherer presents as ‘‘le Livre’’ itself were to envision. years later. in an efficient formulation with obvious appeal for the present study. the problem of the relationship between speech and writing is fundamental for the comprehension of his work. once characterized this relationship for Mallarme´: Like Diderot. and as with Diderot. if subtle.’’ because.’’ he also ‘‘loves books. a similar fusion of the lyrical and the dramatic in a ‘‘rite’’ uniting speaker—‘‘operator’’—and audience.18 In the faun Eglogue.20 Scherer’s biographical trope. a formal analysis of the struggle with voice and writing in this virtual ‘‘book’’ finds that it is best characterized by returning to the somewhat ‘‘naive’’ terms with which Jacques Scherer. or in his celebration of ‘‘the very intimacy of the race. and personal— pastoral voice (Sainte-Beuve. at a self-conscious remove from prelapsarian utterance. Mallarme´ significantly deepens the classical inflection of his staging of idealized vocality by reactivating the self-conscious intertextuality exemplified by Virgil himself. personality and impersonality—Mallarme´ would subsequently confront.

’’ that ‘‘our contemporaries do not know how to read. in particular. l’un et l’autre. There is no doubt that a certain ‘‘obscurity’’—as Proust would have it—initially shrouds any coherent pattern that might lie beneath these sectional relationships. the only acceptable goal of modern literature. In ‘‘Le Myste`re dans les Lettres. significant silence that it is no less beautiful to compose than the verse. the punctuation. a` soi. selon la page.’’ Elsewhere.’’ Mallarme´ brings these synonyms for sexual purity under a single master-symbol. It is the virginal blankness of the page. under ‘‘the transparency of an adequate scrutiny. concomitantly. by a typographical distinction between roman type and italics in quotation marks. these two references to the blanks that isolate poetic strophes on the page can suggest a way to read through the surface sexual story of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune and discover the deeper drama of linguistic material beneath. devant une transparence du regard ade´quat.25 The passage is strikingly saturated with the very synonyms for the theme of ‘‘chastity’’—‘‘virginity. one more ‘‘chaste’’ than the other. by a careful use of punctuation and. I suggest that one essential ‘‘divination’’ (one of Mallarme´’s favored terms for the act of reading) is necessary if we are to recognize that the symmetries.’’ ‘‘candor’’—that occur in the Eglogue’s clouded narrative of a faun’s desirous pursuit of two nymphs. au blanc. In this poem. on the one hand.Strophes and Blanks. preuves nuptiales de l’Ide´e. he suggests.’’ Mallarme´ could well have replied that such obscurity was. he asserted bluntly. in ‘‘Le Myste`re dans les Lettres.’’26 Taken together. or vice versa). and strophic demarcations by typography and punctuation with no intervening blank space are seen. . blank versos of printed rectos. If the structural blanks between strophes are taken as standins for blank folios (that is. qui l’inaugure son inge´nuite´.’’ He proceeded to characterize the act of reading in several untranslatable sentences that hint at the way L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune.’’ be seen to articulate the ‘‘fragments’’ of a text into a ‘‘nuptial proof of the Idea. . . the ‘‘armature intellectuelle’’ of blanks separates the 110 lines into strophes whose precise proportional and symmetrical relationships are reinforced. to operate as direct ‘‘turns’’ from recto to verso on a single 78 R            . ellemeˆme s’est comme divise´e en ses fragments de candeur. that can. and the typography all demarcate an ‘‘armature’’ best portrayed as the gathered feuillets of a book. he emphasized the structural importance of the blank spaces that articulate the strophes within his poems: ‘‘the intellectual armature of the poem is concealed and—has its place—holds fast in the space that isolates the strophes and amidst the blankness of the paper. on the other. Virginite´ que solitairement. in his view.’’ ‘‘ingenuity. can be opened to formal analysis: Lire— / Cette pratique— / Appuyer.24 Instead. Folios and Gatherings When Marcel Proust criticized the excessive mystery of symbolist poetry in his 1896 essay ‘‘Contre l’obscurite´.

we can begin to gather the poem’s array of strophes and blanks on the printed page into an orderly rythmos of folios and bifolios.’’ The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 79 . Pictorial representation and bibliographic diagram of the ‘‘book. can only be sensed if we begin. at least. to a gathering of two bifolios. to a single bifolio.’’ folio. however. that the exquisite interplay in this poetic morceau between structure and process. As the diagram shows. Figure 1 illustrates the ‘‘book’’ form that emerges from this reading of the ‘‘intellectual armature’’ of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune. fluidity and form.’’ so to speak.27 Perhaps this synoptic representation already risks. overbalancing our experience of the virtual ‘‘book’’ too far toward ‘‘fixity. by attributing to it enough substance to imagine taking it up and reading it folio by folio with ‘‘LE FAUNE. in its clarity and simplicity. the virtual book is enfolded by an outer bifolio representing the first and last strophes. 1.’’ I suggest. the internal strophes fall into a structure that expands incrementally from a single folio. Within this ‘‘cover.

qui. Leur incarnat le´ger. Mallarme´ commences the fabrication of this poem-livre by recomposing the opening of Virgil’s first Eclogue: 1 Ces nymphes. intricate enough in itself. Did I love a dream? / My doubt. je les veux perpe´tuer. prouve. he´las! que bien seul je m’offrais Pour triomphe la faute ide´ale de roses— [Those nymphs. the first folio of the virtual ‘‘book. remaining the real / Trees themselves. I have tried both to enact the dilemmas of reading such a structure brings into focus.The strenuous attention to detail in the reading that follows is inevitable given the complex interplay of its threefold motivations. accumulation of ancient night. begins with a single sentence. Aimai-je un reˆve? 4 5 6 7 Mon doute. is further complicated by a few attempts to question the genetic trope under whose sway only a predictable deepening of ‘‘symbolist mystery’’ has been seen in all the poet’s revisions. So clear / Their light carnation. My primary purpose is. a glimpse of ‘‘the Book’’ Figure 2 shows the first seven lines of the poem. and classical references are far more intensively structured than we might expect from the non. and to interpret that enactment. s’ache`ve En maint rameau subtil. which. This task. figures. demeure´ les vrais Bois meˆmes. The worthy result.’’ A particularly close reading of this folio is necessary. I want to perpetuate them. completes itself / In many a subtle branch.’’28 In the first sentence we readers are given to speak with—as—the faun. that it vaults into the air / Weighed down by tufted slumbers. An Echo of Virgil. Mallarme´ once wrote that ‘‘The fabrication of the book. it also effectively prefigures the entire livre-form in its own poetic structure.] 80 R            . to show that the text’s various themes. qu’il voltige dans l’air Assoupi de sommeils touffus. is a new appreciation of the agonistic material dimension of Mallarme´’s poetic practice. It is hard to prevent the simultaneous pursuit of all three tasks from becoming. quite simply. for not only does it efficiently introduce many central themes and problems. at times. in my view. 2 3 Si clair. amas de nuit ancienne. as the ensemble that will unfold. and a newly precise sense of the way this practice enfolds the central linguistic ‘‘crisis’’ of its historical moment. alas! That all alone I was offering myself / For triumph the ideal fault of roses.(and anti-) formalist tendencies in the Mallarme´ literature. But in addition. proves. laborious.

The precise rhythmic congruence between his ‘‘Ces nymphes. je . he can still name his friend and address him directly with the second-person pronoun. demeuré les vrais Bois mêmes. / tune woodland musings on a delicate reed.’’ the objects he sees. . [Tityrus. sheltering beech. qu’il voltige dans l’air 3 Assoupi de sommeils touffus. ‘‘tu. / Abandon home.’’ and Meliboeus’s ‘‘Tityre. who remains in the pastoral landscape: Tityre. bidding farewell to Tityrus.L’Après-midi d’un faune Églogue LE FAUNE 1 Ces nymphes. under the spreading. as ‘‘ces’’ and ‘‘les. nos patriae finis et dulcia linquimus arva. appear in Mallarme´’s first sentence. s’achève En maint rameau subtil. nos patriam fugimus. amas de nuit ancienne. Tityre. prouve.’’ highlights a fundamental difference in pronominal position. Si clair. can only indicate obliquely. you. Even though Meliboeus anticipates exile from his pastoral world. ‘‘Tu’’ does. 2 Leur incarnat léger. je les veux perpétuer. our sweet fields.’’ Virgil’s poem. by contrast. ‘‘perpe´-tu-er. Folio 1 recto of the virtual ‘‘book.]29 In fact. who is leaving into exile. the very first words spoken by the faun encapsulate the problem Mallarme´ confronts in this Eglogue. a dialogue between two shepherds. you. tu .’’ This verb. . .’’ The faun. Aimai-je un rêve? 1 r 4 5 6 7 Mon doute. tu. / Make woods resound with lovely Amaryllis. lazing in the shade. has often served as a mot clef for a The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 81 . tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi silvestrem tenui musam meditaris avena. qui. / We flee our country’s borders. . lentus in umbra formosam resonare doces Amaryllida silvas. begins with Meliboeus. a new addition to the Eglogue (the Improvisation had ‘‘e´merveiller’’). in fact.’’ secreted within the last verb. but it is separated from the ‘‘je. Tityrus. hélas! que bien seul je m’offrais Pour triomphe la faute idéale de roses —  2.

The trope of pastoral piping is strikingly absent from this first folio. After the free-floating question completes line 3. ‘‘faute’’ and ‘‘roses.’’ an inadequate metaphorical compensation for his objects of desire (‘‘faute ide´ale’’). can stand metaphorically—as in Mallarme´’s response to Proust—for our own efforts of reading. In terms of the poem’s primary motivations. line 2 coheres as a pure alexandrine articulated in hemistichs.’’ While Meliboeus is able to repeat Tityrus’s name and the ‘‘tu’’ four lines later.’’ are a trope of Virgilian pastoral. And if we attune our eyes to the typographical progression of the first seven vers we can glimpse. such an incremental congealing of prosodic order represents a loss: a move from immediacy of utterance to the mediation of literary craft. In the next four lines. whose two dark ‘‘o’’ sounds. after sight dims further with Virgilian shadows. who can celebrate the pastoral music that fills the woods with the beauty of the nymph Amaryllis. lines 4 and 7 then frame the poem’s first rhymed couplet of alexandrines. he can only restate his relationship to his objects as a question about a dream. broken ten syllables plus two.’’ leading the faun to question the reliability of his sight. through the first ‘‘folio. in their emerging prosodic order 82 R            . we should recognize that seeing. 5 and 6—both. the desirable hue. it is better to recognize Mallarme´’s cunning—and surprising—choice of verb as a discrete signal that his pastoral ‘‘book’’ will be motivated. ‘‘tegmine fagi. the faun. ‘‘incarnat’’ is displaced by metaphorical ‘‘roses. like line 2.’’ Sheltering trees. lazing in the shade—‘‘lentus in umbra’’—is the conventional posture of the mode. But Mallarme´ finely emphasizes the faun’s loss of pastoral security with the verbal music of the last line. After the first line. The recomposition of Virgil continues. A similar progression can be said to characterize the faun’s visual relationship to his world: the clear ‘‘rosiness’’ collapses into the obscurity of ‘‘tufted slumbers. But the faun cannot laze beneath the trees of his pastoral world because he is unsure where their shade leaves off and the shadows of his own doubt begin. however. But unlike the shepherd.reading that takes the ‘‘perpetuity’’ of artistic representation as the poem’s main theme. the broken lines and internal blank spaces of this first folio compose an emergence of prosody from formally unconstrained speech.’’ Rhythmically. Tityrus’s posture. by a search for the ‘‘je-tu’’ address that has conventionally held lyric poetry’s most compelling promise of direct speech. the adaptation of Virgil shifts to the imagery. But then line 3 is also broken: line 2 hangs amidst irregular surrounds as an isolated conventional vers. in large part.’’ But at a deeper level. Drawing his first strophe to a close. he can only bemoan the displacement of his desired nymphs by ‘‘roses.30 Once the delicate rhythmic nod to Virgil is recognized. when the faun returns to the first person in line 3. as an aspect of internal imagery. as the faun senses a confusion between his own ‘‘doubt’’ and the ‘‘subtle branches’’ of ‘‘real trees. like Meliboeus. turns to metaphor. classically articulated in hemistichs. at several levels.’’ contrast poignantly with the felicitous echo (‘‘resonare’’) in Meliboeus’s ‘‘Amaryllida silvas.

In lines 8–51. at a more immediate level. or. quotes from the Livre sketches: Two symmetrical folios can serve to ‘‘bring about rhyme already. at the higher formal level.’’32 A ‘‘Literary Fugue’’ The esoteric structural ‘‘counterpoint’’ between two levels of formal rythmos on the first feuillet could conceivably be understood as an oblique. 2 and 3. organizer of the game of pages. under closer study. secret. the finest imaginable exemplification of his reverence for ‘‘le Vers’’ as the ‘‘dispenser. Scherer. 2): one nearly complete vers begins.’’ the ‘‘sonorous relationships’’ and ‘‘virginal’’ blanks that determine the progression to a single. Mallarme´ saves his explicit confrontation with the thematic music of pastoral piping for the series of strophes that follow the poem’s first structural blank. the theme of flute-playing enters into the negotiations The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 83 . followed by precisely four (lines 4–7). the poembook’s first internal bifolio (f 3–f4). on the one hand. Deepening the numerical congruence. framed rhyming couplet can be recognized as an advance ‘‘echo’’ of the poem-book’s internal foliation. master of the book. that is.31 When the first feuillet of the faun poem is brought under an ‘‘adequate transparency of regard. as if in echo of two vers’’ . yet mysterious. if. prefatory ‘‘counterpoint’’ between rhyme-rhythm and structural rythmos. purely visual reflection of the iconic musical topos of Virgilian pastoral. followed by approximately two together (lines 2–3). In a recurring trope in Mallarme´’s criticism. The seemingly improvisatory revoicings of Virgil that ‘‘commence’’ his Eglogue-livre thus actually offer. to a purely verbal echo of Virgil’s music. The emergence of the rhyming alexandrines. a resonance with the content of the other comparable to the sonorous. the content of one folio bears. to end at right in an extra. But it seems best to recognize that by restricting himself. relationship that rhyme establishes between two words. In other words. . Even more deftly. . higher-level ‘‘rhyme’’ between two feuillets in a book. . which begin together at left. Mallarme´ opens his pastoral morceau by composing an elaborate. the verses effectively rhyme from one folio to the other. the line-breaks in the first and third vers allow the pair of lines. summarizing this idea. the framed couplet in lines 5–6 can be seen to echo. off-kilter ‘‘relation sonore’’ between ‘‘clair’’ and ‘‘l’air’’ that echoes. the rhyme between two vers in a poem is described as a small-scale reflection of a similar. with blanks between lines that prefigure the ‘‘armature’’ of blanks between pages. on the other hand. more generally. exactly prefigures the incremental expansion from folio to bifolio to gathering (see the diagram in fig. structurally. the bifolio (f6–f 7) within the gathering of four feuillets. a prefiguration of the virtual ‘‘book’’ that will enfold the whole ensuing struggle to recover lyric voice.on the page.

in fact. an extreme musicality. in his many discussions with Mallarme´. Mallarme´’s portrayal of the faun as a desirous musician draws on Ovidian myth: Pan chased the nymph Syrinx to the water’s edge. feeling (‘‘sensualite´’’). proud of my noise.with pastoral lyricism. I am going to speak’’ [line 54. the faun’s fourth and final reference to his flute—the only time. lines 8–51. ‘‘fugal’’ proportions (the patterns of an explicitly musical poetic rythmos) are also discarded. But in Mallarme´. for he is the only commentator to both name the form and specify its principal themes: The poem became [through revision] a sort of literary fugue. all in passages that admit to the elusiveness of the desired nymphs. The second half of the poem.33 Indeed. that he names it as ‘‘Syrinx’’—launches the second half of the poem by casting the instrument aside. Mallarme´ composes the faun’s threefold confrontation with the deceptive promises of pastoral music into the poetic equivalent of a musical form. Vale´ry’s ‘‘literary fugue’’ proves beautifully accurate as a structural description of one large section of the poem. for Virgil’s shepherds often take up their pipes in compensation for lost love. and music—are treated in precise ‘‘fugal’’ proportions: a ‘‘subject’’ of normative length presents the themes. three themes— which I will identify more simply as seeing (Vale´ry’s ‘‘intellectualite´’’). every resource of poetics is employed to sustain a triple development of images and ideas. my emphasis]—that he does not want to pipe in memory of the nymphs. creating a far more explicit formal-thematic interplay than the secret structural ‘‘rhymes’’ just seen between vers and feuillets. It seems that Paul Vale´ry. Mallarme´ now brings the musical-textual possibilities of ‘‘counterpoint’’ right to the surface of the poem. This mythological background easily blends with the Virgilian aspects of Mallarme´’s Eglogue. combine. after explicitly identifying himself as a pastoral piper three times. may have received some firsthand knowledge of this formal conceit. he thus makes clear—‘‘Me. and they also often invoke Pan. he wants to contact them directly with the lyric voice. where the water nymphs ‘‘saved’’ her by turning her into a stand of reeds. from which Pan constructed the pipes he played to compensate for thwarted desire. along with the Virgilian trope by which pastoral music becomes metaphorical for the art of poetry itself. followed by an ‘‘augmentation’’ (the same thematic pattern doubled) and a ‘‘diminution’’ (halved). in which the themes interweave with prodigious artistry. Across these lines. an extreme intellectuality. But after the pivotal rejection of the flute in lines 52–53. intermingle. in which the faun’s pursuit of voice gains focus in the absence of pastoral piping. An extreme sensuality. Rejecting music’s supposed compensation for thwarted desire. And through the formal disposition of his treatment of this theme across various strophes. or oppose each other in this extraordinary work. As has often been noted. proceeds as a structure of typographically distinct pairs of sections in one-to-one proportional relation- 84 R            . Matching the mastery with which he prefigures the poem-book in the first seven vers.

isolated word on folio 2r. 3. and begin to read the internal foliation. 1v.’’ the fugal patterns that project the theme of music into the formal rythmos of the poem also begin to ‘‘arrange’’—recall Benveniste’s robe—its strophes. A closer reading of the ‘‘subject’’ can prepare the exploration of the contrapuntal intricacy with which Mallarme´ handles these themes.’’ as a linguistic mark of the page-turn. The collective first-person imperative serves as a pronominal pivot from the faun’s opening soliloquy to his first voicing of the second-person ‘‘tu. and its armature of blanks. S marks the ‘‘subject’’ of the ‘‘literary fugue. 9 ou si les femmes dont tu gloses Figurent un souhait de tes sens fabuleux! The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 85 . . 8 Re´fle´chissons . Folio 2r (folio 1v is blank). we must imagine turning the first feuillet. ‘‘Re´fle´chissons.’’ ships—in other words. both of Vale´ry’s terms are important to understand the formal role of the whole ‘‘contrapuntal’’ section. I highlight in particular the contrast between seeing and feeling most fundamental to the faun’s pursuit of personal voice. in a structure more simply and directly analogous to the symmetrical feuillets in a book. we might take the first. and diminution—this contrast is followed by two further thematic occurrences: an explicit reference to the faun’s music. ‘‘tu’’ does not yet address the nymphs. As I have shown in figure 3. seemingly caused by the music in each case. In this ‘‘literary fugue. into a foliated structure. augmentation. In all three sections of the fugue—subject. I indicate the main themes that articulate the fifteen lines into the ‘‘subject’’ of the ‘‘literary fugue.’’ At this point. it turns back on the faun himself. then a disappearance of the desired objects. the blank between lines 7 and 8 can be represented as a blank folio.’’ With boxes. . In truth. Indeed. To perceive this double formal effect. In figure 3.

inquiringly. that is. before the more structurally significant contrast. Ne murmure point d’eau que ne verse ma fluˆte Au bosquet arrose´ d’accords. / It is. . a` l’horizon pas remue´ d’une ride. or speak about) and ‘‘figurer’’ (to figure or represent). comme une source en pleurs. for the first time. an intimate approach against an escape to distance. ‘‘gloser’’ (to gloss. the faun begins to develop the ‘‘doubt’’ from the first feuillet. like a spring in tears. the 1875 Improvisation had the more precious ‘‘l’autre au tie`de aveu’’ for ‘‘l’autre tout soupirs. the other all sighs. C’est. or if the women you are glossing / Figure a wish of your fabulous senses! / Faun. Making a palpable attempt to gain control over the discourse by naming himself at the start of line 10. the faun’s words actually materialize the ‘‘sighs’’ and the ‘‘hot breeze of the day’’ as a crescendo of sibilant consonants: ‘‘brise du jour chaude. de la plus chaste: Mais. and the only wind / Besides the two pipes quick to exhale before / It disperses the sound into a dry rain. he efficiently distills. l’autre tout soupirs. By asking himself whether the other.’’ might be like a ‘‘hot breeze’’ into his ‘‘fleece. Here. of the more chaste one: / But. would you say she contrasts / Like warm breeze of day into your fleece? / Ah no! from the immobile and weary swoon / Suffocating with warmth the cold morning if it struggles. qui regagne le ciel.’’ The faun answers his inquiry with an abrupt denial. in four lines punctuated as two plus two.’’ Not only is the 1876 language clearer and more formally incisive. Juxtaposing two verbs. ‘‘all sighs. l’illusion s’e´chappe des yeux bleus Et froids. but the revision adds to the reader’s experience a brief foretaste (or foresense) of the breathy passion that might lie in store with the full attainment of spoken ‘‘music.] After the pronominal pivot.’’ and ‘‘brise du jour vaine’’ for ‘‘chaude. . he recognizes the metaphorical deceptions of his own musical 86 R            . / The visible and serene artificial breath / Of inspiration. blue / And cold. et le seul vent Hors des deux tuyaux prompt a` s’exhaler avant Qu’il disperse le son dans une pluie aride. he then attempts. Characterizing the more ‘‘chaste’’ one as an escaping illusion of blue eyes (10– 11). dis-tu qu’elle contraste Comme brise du jour chaude dans ta toison? Que non! par l’immobile et lasse paˆmoison Suffoquant de chaleurs le matin frais s’il lutte. / Murmurs no water save that my flute pours / Into the thicket sprinkled with chords.’’ With the new adjective (‘‘chaude’’). at the horizon not stirred by a ripple. the problematic relationship between speech and visual representation. [Let us reflect . lower-body—animal—sensation against seen illusions. Le visible et serein souffle artificiel De l’inspiration. he leaves no doubt about the poverty of vision as a means of sensuous gratification. ‘‘Que non!’’ And now.’’ ‘‘s—j—ch.10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Faune. which regains the sky. to describe his two desired nymphs. the illusion escapes of the eyes.’’ he poses heat against coldness.

distinguished by the italics. after the blank folio 2v. just prior to the ‘‘fugue. at folio 3r.’’ Mallarme´’s liquid adjective ‘‘arrose´ ’’ clearly echoes the ‘‘roses’’ the faun recognized. in its proliferation of metaphors. the ‘‘deux tuyaux’’ (‘‘two pipes’’) are said to ‘‘exhale.’’ as false substitutes for the envisioned rosy flesh. answers the earlier exhalation of the flute. doubling the thematic pattern of the fifteen-line subject to twenty-nine lines. The disappearance that completes the fugue subject negates or confuses the idea of breathing in particular. one further theme. ‘‘Artificial inspiration. If we imagine turning the page. the faun’s language regains the upper reaches of the imagination from which the search for sensuous substances began. which begins the fugal augmentation and the poem’s first internal ‘‘bifolio. I have given. we arrive. Pastoral piping is identified as just as treacherous. recognize Virgil’s ‘‘resounding woods’’ in the description of the thicket as ‘‘sprinkled with chords.’’ The finely chosen verb. belatedly. 23 24 25 26 ˆ bords siciliens d’un calme mare´cage O Qu’a` l’envi des soleils ma vanite´ saccage. in the ‘‘murmurs’’ of the ‘‘waters’’ it ‘‘pours forth. In the last mention of the flute (line 18). the proportions can be said to be exact to within one line: the augmentation. Tacite sous les fleurs d’e´tincelles. so that its thematic patterns can be compared with figure 3. as the poetic imagination that reduces sensuous experience to faulty symbols.) Some general rhythms can be discerned through the syntactical haze: ‘‘inspiration. and brings this now-disembodied breath under the shadow of the adjective ‘‘artificial’’ (line 21). The location by the shores. ‘‘verser’’ (‘‘to pour’’). In the first.’’ it seems to me.’’ In figure 4.’’ As the sound ‘‘disperses. for these two later sections. enfolds the diminution. relates the deceitful music directly to the art of poetry—‘‘vers’’—itself. infused with metaphors and metaphorical musics—offers only an insubstantial artifice of experience. CONTEZ ‘‘Que je coupais ici les creux roseaux dompte´s The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 87 .performance.’’ which can also mean inhalation. And while we might now. With a final rise of breath to the sky (‘‘ciel’’). sums up the recognition across the whole passage that poetic craft—at least in its traditional pastoral form. clear in both the augmentation and the diminution. which halves the pattern to (approximately) seven lines. The themes identified on the right in figure 4 show how precisely Mallarme´ has adapted fugal process to literary form. further strengthens their formal relationship. somewhat clouded instance of an arithmetic principle that will later become more precise and more unmistakeable. This pastoral flute explicitly replaces speech.’’ the faun’s experience of his world becomes visual again: an ‘‘artificial breath of inspiration’’ becomes visible at the horizon and ‘‘regains the sky’’ to draw the subject to a close (lines 20– 22. I show the complete augmentation as it appears on both 3r and 4r (the blank between lines 37 and 38 becomes the blank 3v).

. The broken vertical (lower image) marks a fold. sur l’or glauque de lointaines ‘‘Verdures de´diant leur vigne a` des fontaines ‘‘Ondoie une blancheur animale au repos: ‘‘Et qu’au pre´lude lent ou` naissent les pipeaux ‘‘Ce vol de cygnes.’’ A=‘‘Augmentation. tout bruˆle dans l’heure fauve Sans marquer par quel art ensemble de´tala Trop d’hymen souhaite´ de qui cherche le la: Alors m’e´veillerai-je a` la ferveur premie`re.’’ 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 ‘‘Par le talent. D=‘‘Diminution. 4. Folios 3r and 4r (2v and 3v are blank). when on the glaucous gold of distant / Greenery dedicating their vine to fountains / Undulates an animal 88 R            . quand. ’’ Inerte. non! de naı¨des se sauve ‘‘Ou plonge . sous un flot antique de lumie`re. / Tacit beneath flowers of sparks. TELL ‘‘That I was cutting here hollow reeds tamed / By talent. Lys! et l’un de vous tous pour l’inge´nuite´. [O Sicilian shores of a calm marsh. . / Which in envy of sunbeams my vanity ransacks. Droit et seul.

’’ in a plea for aural recovery. But the seven-line diminution begins in the first person rather than the third person of narrative. through its figurative meaning of purity or innocence it also recalls the chastity of that prior illusion. ‘‘My playful muse first chose Sicilian verse: / She did not blush to dwell among the woods. they do not guide his eyes into historical vistas.whiteness at rest: / And that at the slow prelude in which the pipes are born / This flight of swans. relates back to the vision in the subject of the blue-eyed nymph. between this speaker and the Theocritean muse of his art.’’ on The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 89 . through the Renaissance. let’s sing a nobler song’’. they rather obscure the ‘‘Sicilian shores’’ from his ‘‘ransacking’’ vision. it is the job of careful classicists to make sure they are never extinguished. one of the most powerful devices of lyric utterance. in his view. no! of naı¨ads save themselves / Or plunge . the faun addresses his pastoral setting: ‘‘O Sicilian shores of a calm marsh. as in the fourth and sixth Eclogues: ‘‘Sicilian muse.’’ which remain ‘‘tacites’’ (‘‘silent. at least. we might say. of prelapsarian voice. In the simplest reading. But a deeper meaning suggests itself if we look again to Sainte-Beuve’s Etude sur Virgile. The overwritten pages of modern literature.’’ ‘‘creux roseaux’’—another echo of deceptive ‘‘roses’’).’’ Inert. In his preface.’’ ‘‘Whiteness. only a few ‘‘e´tincelles’’ from this torch have survived the vicissitudes of modern literary extravagance. a ‘‘Discours’’ given on his accession to the chair of Latin poetry at the Colle`ge de France in 1855. and giving a few details of the setting (the greenery. he glimpses an undulating vision (line 29).’’ This overt nod to Theocritus. beneath an antique wave of light. Sainte-Beuve celebrates literary tradition with the metaphor of a torch (‘‘flambeau’’) passed from the Greeks to the Romans. Sicilian founder of pastoral poetry.] The contrapuntal elaboration begins with an even stronger linguistic gesture than the pronominal pivot that opened the subject. The contrast between seeing and feeling is encapsulated in just two words: ‘‘blancheur animale.’’34 But rather than invoking a Sicilian muse. the faun can only—in his ‘‘vanity’’—claim to be ransacking ‘‘Sicilian shores. and while it starts in the past tense (‘‘coupais’’) it soon shifts to the present (‘‘ondoie. the fountains). / Erect and alone. .’’ After marking his location by the shores of the marsh (‘‘cutting hollow reeds. The adjective ‘‘animale. The poem’s first change of typography suggests that the shores respond to the summons to speak. to the modern era.’’ line 29). More precisely. blindingly. intervene. The faun can only pretend to hear the originary Sicilian voice as he himself revisits the thematic pattern of the fugue ‘‘subject. everything burns in the tawny hour / Without indicating by which art together fled / Too much union desired by the one who searches for the A: / Thus I will awaken to the first fervor. With an apostrophic invocation (line 23). He can only beg the silent shores to ‘‘TELL. if the ‘‘fleurs d’e´tincelles’’ are the sparks of tradition so cherished by classicist critics.35 For Mallarme´’s faun. we might say that dazzling reflections on the water conceal the shores from his eyes. . is a typical Virgilian device.’’ a seen color.’’ but also hidden or implied) beneath ‘‘flowers of sparks’’ (line 25). / Lilies! And one of all of you for ingenuity.

atteste une morsure Myste´rieuse.’’ with its (fictive) implications of speech indicated visually by the typography. and he identifies himself in musical terms as ‘‘the one who searches for the A ’’ (line 34). back to the chaste nymph of the subject. that he will awaken to his first fervor. qui tout bas des perfides assure. leads immediately to music. (Given that the motion of ‘‘ondoie’’ at the beginning of this line also contrasts with the stasis of ‘‘au repos’’ at the end. Unable to decide whether he has seen swans or naiads. too. Le baiser.’’ enter the italicized ‘‘telling. ‘‘gloses’’ and ‘‘contez. the obscure objects. inspires a sudden lurch to metaphor. bast! arcane tel e´lut pour confident R            . might instead ‘‘plunge’’ into the waters beyond the shores. In this wider view. The augmentation that enfolds the diminution resumes with the return to roman type.the other hand. matching the position of ‘‘souhait’’ in the subject (line 9). ‘‘the pipes. which brings this moment more closely into line with the proportional ‘‘diminution. can be seen to ‘‘figure’’ or ‘‘mark’’ the poem’s motivating dichotomy in the textual presentation itself. adds a palpable frisson to the vision—as if the whiteness is suddenly recognized as desirable flesh—and a link back to the sighing nymph in the subject. through the ‘‘blancheur’’ in the diminution. One way of relating this passage to the fugal process would be to look back to the beginning of the augmentation. however. Exclaiming the name of a white flower—‘‘Lys!’’—and relating it to his own ‘‘inge´nuite´’’ or innocence. ‘‘figurent’’ and ‘‘marquer’’ were both added in 1876). Such boldness. ‘‘erect and alone. the verb ‘‘se sauve’’ would most strongly match the sense of upward disappearance in the subject. Mais. The augmented contrast. due a` quelque auguste dent. Mallarme´ further strengthened the fugue structure in 1876 by adding the word ‘‘souhaite´’’ to the line before the augmented version of the contrast (line 34). In a transitional passage. beneath a spotlight of tradition. it seems. in three lines to a full stop.’’ and the instrument.’’ It is as if he claims the visual stage of the poem. just as strongly marked by punctuation. If associated with ‘‘flight’’ (‘‘vol’’). vierge de preuve.’’ already appeared in the Improvisation. the faun is equally confused about their manner of escape. the faun notes that the burning heat of noon (‘‘l’heure fauve’’) erases all trace of the desired objects. 38 39 40 41 42 90 Autre que ce doux rien par leur le`vre e´bruite´. Mon sein. in effect. beneath an antique wave of light. who seemed to sigh into the fleece of the faun’s own animal half.’’) This contrast. a ‘‘slow prelude. begins with the faun asserting. the faun underlines its symbolic link. the italicized ‘‘telling. and note that the seven italicized lines are. we might see the two-word contrast as dividing the whole alexandrine into two hemistichs. inserted between two verbs—‘‘conter’’ (to tell) and ‘‘marquer’’ (to mark or indicate)—that juxtapose speech and visual representation much in the way that ‘‘gloser’’ and ‘‘figurer’’ did in the same position in the subject (two of these four verbs.’’ dispersing both vision and sensation (lines 30–31). Now both the type of music.

Une sonore. Et de faire aussi haut que l’amour se module E´vanouir du songe ordinaire de dos Ou de flanc pur suivis avec mes regards clos. the kiss of a (lower?) lip and the bite of an (upper?) tooth.] After the blank folio 3v. in four lines to a colon. But deeper formal implications can be recognized by reading these lines as a multiple chiasmus around the faun’s reference to his breast (‘‘Mon sein’’).43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 Le jonc vaste et jumeau dont sous l’azur on joue: Qui. in a long solo. the second half of the contrast appears on 4r. also ‘‘dreams . in midthought: ‘‘other than this sweet nothing by their lip sounded out. it seems. we read of the ‘‘lip’’ and the ‘‘kiss. Reˆve. to pastoral piping (line 43). Altogether. With an abrupt ejaculation—‘‘Mais bast!’’—in the same place as ‘‘Que non!’’ in the subject. dans un solo long. due to some august tooth. vain and monotonous line. que nous amusions La beaute´ d’alentour par des confusions Fausses entre elle-meˆme et notre chant cre´dule. On one side. also. / Dreams. the syntax now becomes particularly baroque: the reed. [Other than this soft nothing by their lip sounded out. / And to make just as high as love modulates / To vanish from ordinary dream of back / Or of pure flank followed by my closed gazes. the guilty overtones of ‘‘perfides’’ on one side contrast with the purity of ‘‘vierge’’. vaine et monotone ligne. / The kiss. that we amuse / The beauty of the surrounds with false / Confusions between itself and our credulous song. . / But enough! such a secret elected as confidant / The vast. de´tournant a` soi le trouble de la joue. obscurely. here intensify the sensuality of the oral/tactile conjunction previously given in breezy sighs.’’ Perhaps the line refers back to the fictive ‘‘telling.’’ The ‘‘dream’’ attributed to the reed— ‘‘that we amuse / the surrounding beauty with false confusions / between itself and our credulous song’’—blends music and setting much in the way the flute that murmured into the chord-sprinkled thicket did in the subject. the faun turns. of the ‘‘bite’’ and the ‘‘tooth’’. the theme of music in the augmentation includes both the instrument. we can recognize in this disappearance (‘‘to vanish’’) both the turn to vision (‘‘regards’’) and the rising motion (‘‘aussi haut’’) The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 91 . Reading through the verbal tangles. that in low tones the perfidious ones assures. And as before. again. ‘‘a long solo. or high—on the side of the tooth. to make as high as love modulates / to vanish from the ordinary dream of back / or of pure flank pursued by my blind looks / a sonorous. ‘‘bas’’—low—on the side of the lip opposes ‘‘auguste’’—august. As in the diminution. two more ‘‘animal’’ types of contact.’’ and what it plays. . virgin of proof. 38–41. / A sonorous. returning to itself the trouble of the cheek. The faun resumes. twin reed on which under the azure one plays: / Which.’’ in acknowledgment that the ‘‘lip’’ of the shores actually said nothing.’’ on the other. the ‘‘vast twin reed. vain and monotonous line’’ (lines 45–51). / My breast. attests a Mysterious / Bite. finally.

the terms of oral experience. or ‘‘significant silence.’’ a more centered bodily experience. imparts its own folded form. . Perhaps the odd ascription of vision to ‘‘blind’’ or ‘‘closed’’ eyes (line 50) adds a note of confusion similar to the indistinct whiteness in the diminution. not only is the faun himself staged. we begin reading the second half of the poem with the lines on folio 5r.’’ I will begin by reading in order and then demonstrate the relationships that effect the foliation later. With a negative turn similar to the ‘‘artificial breath’’ that closed the subject. lilylike.36 Such metaphors aside. the faun speaks the pronoun ‘‘tu’’ to an external ‘‘other’’ for the first time. . In the later.’’ as Mallarme´ might have it. This folio is strongly related in textual form and linguistic detail to folio 8v.’’ he 92 R            . The ‘‘Gathering’’ Around the ‘‘Central Fold’’ Turning the page. sensuous half of this contrast. To begin the gathering of two bifolios.’’ From subject to augmentation. falling as it will. . as if the very verbal texture of such personal utterance attains a delicate weight somewhat like the fabric of Benveniste’s robe—the substance that.’’ rather it is his flute. the fugue ends with an acknowledgment that artistic ‘‘modulations’’ of sensuous desires into representational or musical lines can only be ‘‘vain’’ and ‘‘monotonous. but he claims. To read on is to discover that the chiasmus after this first visible fold actually prefigures. the ‘‘Syrinx. however. between the faun’s descriptions of himself in the contrasting terms of seeing and feeling. figure 5. We might say there is something gravitational about the corporeal affirmation of the first person. But the addressee is not yet a true ‘‘second person. with the first-person ‘‘Mon sein.’’ In rejecting this ‘‘instrument des fuites. kiss and bite and tooth and lip. expanded contrast. The contrast between seeing and feeling initially appeared within a description of the nymphs and featured the pronominal prevarication—‘‘ta toison’’—of internal dialogue.suggested in the subject (‘‘visible souffle . the faun has made some progress in his attempt to secure presence and clarity within language. in formed language itself. its companion on one ‘‘bifolio. this cohering of pronominal security has the effect of opening the first fold within the internal pagination. have gained particular specificity. In the formal model of the book. passionate speech—which can only be attained by discarding the pastoral flute and breaking free of fugal form. regagne le ciel’’) and also in the diminution (‘‘vol de cygnes . In the second. in light. the faun’s true (and more truly substantive) goal: the conjunction of his own lower lip and upper tooth in audible. these oral attributes and activities still remain the property of some other ‘‘mysterious’’ mouth. . At this point. perhaps the larger implications of this first inner fold for the dispositional rythmos of the whole Eglogue can be sensed once we note that it appears as a strange absence. se sauve’’).

for ‘‘lacs. I raise to the summer sky the empty bunch / And. je vais parler longtemps Des de´esses. breathing into their luminous skins. soufflant dans ses peaux lumineuses. instrument of flights. line 53 can suggest an explicit recognition of the ensnaring artifices of the fugal form associated with the Syrinx. / From their shadow lift again the girdles: / Then. avid / With drunkenness. Line 54 begins with the strongest first-person pronoun. oˆ maligne Syrinx. ô maligne Syrinx. jusqu’au soir je regarde au travers. ‘‘fugue’’ derives from the Latin ‘‘fugere. ` leur ombre enlever encore des ceintures: A Ainsi. avide D’ivresse. jusqu’au soir je regarde au travers. instrument des fuites. for etymologically.] The escape from the snares of music is marked immediately in the language. could well be said to reject fugal form as well. to reflower at the lakes where you await me! / Me. et par d’idolaˆtres peintures. de ma rumeur fier. Indeed. / To banish a regret by my feint put aside. soufflant dans ses peaux lumineuses.’’ often translated as ‘‘lakes.  5. quand des raisins j’ai sucé la clarté. de refleurir aux lacs ou` tu m’attends! Moi. proud of my noise. j’e´le`ve au ciel d’e´te´ la grappe vide Et. de ma rumeur fier. Folio 5r (folio 4v is blank). avide D’ivresse. when from the grapes I have sucked the clarity.’’ and continues with The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 93 . Pour bannir un regret par ma feinte écarté.37 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 Taˆche donc. o malign / Syrinx. je vais parler longtemps Des déesses. instrument des fuites. Pour bannir un regret par ma feinte e´carte´. / Laughing. I am going to speak at length / Of the goddesses.’’ to flee. [Try then. Rieur. À leur ombre enlever encore des ceintures: Ainsi. et par d’idolâtres peintures.’’ can also mean ‘‘snare’’ or ‘‘snares’’ (‘‘le lacs’’ or ‘‘les lacs’’). and by idolatrous paintings. ‘‘Moi. until evening I stare through. j’élève au ciel d’été la grappe vide Et. quand des raisins j’ai suce´ la clarte´. de refleurir aux lacs où tu m’attends! Moi.r 5 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 Tâche donc. Rieur.

and however troubled by ‘‘regret’’ (an immediate rebuttal to the anticipation of pride). a` mes pieds. However weak his linguistic hold on reality may still be.’’ Like ‘‘idolaˆtres peintures. In the last five lines of the folio. s’entrejoignent (meurtries ‘‘De la langueur gouˆte´e a` ce mal d’eˆtre deux) ‘‘Des dormeuses parmi leurs seuls bras hasardeux.’’ Every other prior action has been attributed to other beings or objects. quand. This interpolated apostrophe.verbal music—‘‘de ma rumeur fier’’—that audibly reclaims the ‘‘murmure’’ initially displaced onto the flute. The first-person construction ‘‘je vais parler’’ continues through ‘‘enlever’’ to several more: ‘‘j’ai suce´. ‘‘je coupais’’ (line 26) occurred in the italics of the tale ostensibly told by the ‘‘shores. both in the past tense. and after the wish of the opening line.’’ ‘‘je regarde’’ (the participle. The twelve-line strophe in italics and quotes is introduced by a one-line apostrophe in roman type in which the faun calls on the nymphs to ‘‘swell again’’ with MEMORIES. both underlines the main point of the whole palindromic second ‘‘half ’’ and deepens the dynamic move toward the central crux. O ‘‘Mon oeil. oˆ pierreries! ‘‘J’accours. this first folio of the gathering represents a further stage in the gradual coherence of the poem’s language around the speaking self. The first. we have read only two such clear first-person verbs. a summoning of the world through speech. a crucial component of lyric speech. in some drunken equivalent of the pleasures of noisy speech and prurient sight.’’ the address the faun desires will be a moment of undress: in a line with obvious sexual overtones. lascivious seeing. was reflexive and tinged with woe. In its new pronominal force. we arrive at folio 6r. Invocation. dardait chaque encolure ‘‘Immortelle.’’ ‘‘j’e´le`ve. ‘‘soufflant. including the faun as a virtual second person (‘‘tu gloses’’) and his attributes (‘‘ma vanite´ saccage’’).39 Still. the second. is also implicitly a first-person action). R            . Turning the page.’’ which adds breathing. it becomes clear that he has not yet broken free of metaphor. regonflons des SOUVENIRS divers. figure 6. in the future tense. to the list of activities. Prior to this folio. trouant les joncs. A bunch of grapes becomes the focus of a temporally confused fantasy. he claims to suck the grapes and to look through their skins.38 The proud anticipation of speech—‘‘je vais parler’’— becomes conflated with a direct. after the blank folio 5v. qui noie en l’onde sa bruˆlure ‘‘Avec un cri de rage au ciel de la foreˆt. in fact. ‘‘je m’offrais’’ (line 8). at this point speech and sight remain wishful ambitions. nonetheless. is precisely the aesthetic motivation of this whole climactic series of strophes. which anticipates a sensuous promise in vision far richer than any ‘‘chaste illusion. the faun has. 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 94 ˆ nymphes. ‘‘Et le splendide bain de cheveux disparaıˆt ‘‘Dans les clarte´s et les frissons. Shuttling strangely between past and present. made significant progress in pronominal power. he will ‘‘enlever des ceintures’’ from the ‘‘ombre’’ of these goddesses.

The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 95 . without disentangling them. ‘‘to mitigate a loss by poetic practice.”  6. sans les désenlacer.’’41 In adapting this tradition and initiating an ‘‘internal bifolio’’ that is now free of the snares of music. Naiads. s’entrejoignent (meurtries 69 “De la langueur goûtée à ce mal d’être deux) 70 “Des dormeuses parmi leurs seuls bras hasardeux. 73 “De roses tarissant tout parfum au soleil. qui noie en l’onde sa brûlure 65 “Avec un cri de rage au ciel de la forêt. o jewels! / I run up. hated by the frivolous shade. 74 “Où notre ébat au jour consumé soit pareil. the faun invokes the nymphs to help him recover a direct lyric address to them. 66 “Et le splendide bain de cheveux disparaît 67 “Dans les clartés et les frissons. The archetype— ‘‘Where were ye nymphs. join together (bruised / By the languor tasted by this evil of being two) / The sleepers amidst their own arms in disarray. trouant les joncs. and fly / To this hilltop.’’) in which one word. as Paul Alpers puts it. dardait chaque encolure 64 “Immortelle. It is echoed in Virgil’s tenth Eclogue: ‘‘Where were you. which drowned in the wave its burn / With a cry of rage to the sky of the forest. sans les de´senlacer. The only other ‘‘internal bifolio’’ of this livre (folios 3 and 4) similarly begins with an apostrophe (‘‘O bords . ô pierreries! 68 “J’accours. Folio 6r (folio 5v is blank).’’ [O nymphs. et vole 72 “À ce massif. . / ‘‘My eye. / Where our sport is similar to the consumed day. 63 “Mon oeil. / As Gallus languished in ignoble love?’’40 This lineage of pastoral invocation exemplifies the elegiac tendencies of the mode—its attempts. this later invocation to the nymphs is an altered pastoral convention. regonflons des SOUVENIRS divers. haï par l’ombrage frivole. like that earlier apostrophe. haı¨ par l’ombrage frivole. stung each immortal / Neck. ‘‘Ou` notre e´bat au jour consume´ soit pareil. à mes pieds. / And the splendid bath of hair disappeared / Into the clarities and the shivers. when Daphnis lay dying?’’—appears in Theocritus’s first Idyll. ‘‘De roses tarissant tout parfum au soleil. et vole ‘‘A` ce massif. piercing the reeds. / Of roses {exhaling} all perfume to the sun. quand. at my feet.r 6 62 Ô nymphes. in what groves or glades. . ‘‘CONTEZ. let us swell again with diverse MEMORIES. 71 “Je les ravis. 71 72 73 74 ‘‘Je les ravis.’’] The capitalization of ‘‘SOUVENIRS’’ marks a formal relationship that gains clarity from the book model. when. / I take them up. Furthermore.’’ is capitalized.

As if to underline the progress he has made since the poem began—the nymphs already were linguistic objects. his burning gaze has found. 6) begins with a strong first-person possessive.’’ which literally captures the nymphs as grammatical objects as he seizes them physically. When the ensuing italicized strophe (fig. comme un e´clair Tressaille! la frayeur secre`te de la chair: R            . but only of vision and fantasy—the folio ends with another image of ‘‘roses. the preeminent Mallarme´an image. With ‘‘J’accours. it is made palpable through the woven texture of language itself. enact a linguistic crux best represented as a fold. twice.’’ it is as if the faun’s eye attains physically penetrative force.’’ Now separated from the nymphs. While first-person claims were distributed throughout the vers on folio 5. no longer frustrating metaphorical substitutions. After describing the intertwined ‘‘sleepers’’ he finds at his feet. Folio 6 further strengthens in pronominal force. At the end of the section. courroux des vierges. not yet attained. perfuming the air of the mountainside on which sensual ‘‘sport’’ consumes itself ‘‘like the day. Translated to the livre form. 75 76 77 78 96 Je t’adore. effectively claiming for himself the rising motion that played a negating role in the fugal first half. might eventually allow shared memories to cohere. he ‘‘flies’’ up to a mountaintop to sport with the objects he has finally grasped. folio 6v to 7r. ‘‘Piercing’’ the reeds. The rich sensuality of the first few lines of the folio—the ‘‘splendid bath of hair’’—stimulates an apostrophic exclamation. ‘‘oˆ pierreries!’’ But sight. and ‘‘spearing each neck’’ of the desired bodies. No blank intervenes between the italics and the roman type that follows. ‘‘Mon oeil. his first decisive motion within these perennially confusing pastoral spaces. oˆ de´lice Farouche du sacre´ fardeau nu qui se glisse Pour fuir ma le`vre an feu buvant. the principal engine of the faun’s linguistic progress.’’ Turning the page. in place of the metaphorical ‘‘grape skins’’ that ended the previous folio. Here. The seven lines in figure 7. now. this gives a section articulation with no intervening blank page—a direct turn from recto to verso on the same folio. he makes a second line-leading claim. again. at the beginnings of lines. these read like ‘‘real’’ roses.’’ This verb picks up the image of ‘‘breath’’ into ‘‘empty skins’’ from the previous folio.’’ the faun lays claims to his first physical motion toward the nymphs—indeed. he cannot yet lay claim to the second-person pronoun present in both classical prototypes. unlike between f3v–4r.Although the faun does speak directly to the nymphs here. the true sensuous objects. for the first time. 6r to 6v. cannot be upheld as the ultimate goal: this energetic ejaculation can only record the disappearance of his sensuous vision. Intimate address is only implicit in the collective imperative ‘‘regonflons. first-person actions appear. the fold no longer opens between text and textual absence. as if breathy speech itself. we reach the peak of the crescendo of pronominal agency and the consummation of the desire to speak. after all (‘‘je les veux’’). ‘‘Je les ravis.

humid / With foolish tears or with less mournful vapors.] The declaration of love. The ‘‘central fold. through ‘‘vierges. like a lightning-bolt / Thrills! the secret terror of the flesh: / From the feet of the inhuman one to the heart of the shy / Let be relinquished at once an innocence. courroux des vierges.’’ form an octosyllable.’’ The double s is only the last of a hissing chain of sibilants—‘‘vierges. a verse-rhythm closely associated with oral tradition and ancient drama.’’ ‘‘se glisse’’—that claim for the lyric voice the breathy sounds sensed earlier in The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 97 . Open bifolio showing 6v and 7r. ô délice Farouche du sacré fardeau nu qui se glisse Pour fuir ma lèvre an feu buvant. comme un éclair la frayeur secrète de la chair: Tressaille! 79 Des pieds de l’inhumaine au coeur de la timide 80 Que délaisse à la fois une innocence.’’ 79 80 81 Des pieds de l’inhumaine au coeur de la timide Que de´laisse a` la fois une innocence.’’ ‘‘farouche. humide De larmes folles ou de moins tristes vapeurs. wrath of virgins. Rhythmically.’’ is the only time the faun speaks to the nymphs directly.’’ ‘‘de´lice. [I adore you. humide 81 De larmes folles ou de moins tristes vapeurs.75 76 77 78 6 Je t’adore.42 Then. r v 7 6 v r 7  7. from the apostrophe. with the ‘‘je-tu’’ address that gives the most potent promise of vocal presence in lyric poetry.’’ the prosody dissolves in a literally ‘‘delicious’’ rush to the climactic consonants of ‘‘Tre-’’ and the slide of the double s into the diphthong ‘‘-aille. o fierce / Delight of the sacred naked burden that slides / To flee my lip drinking fire. ‘‘Je t’adore. ‘‘oˆ de´lice. the ensuing lines demand a reading aloud: the first few words.’’ ‘‘sacre´.

too.’’ ‘‘fuir. that even if we seem to be brought up. briefly. against a recognition that speech. here. allow such unreflective naivete´. to celebrate the vibrant expression of this illusion through mouth and body. fleetingly. near-graspable distillation of all the elusive promises of the unitary ‘‘symbol. in filling out his own corporeal ‘‘character.’’ ‘‘feu.’’ It could be. more inward realm of experience. it seems impossible to escape fully (or forget completely) the sense of loss that tinges this central crux. the text will not. is trapped in illusion—is vaporous rather than substantive—we might still be permitted.’’ Unlike the tumbling elisions that led to the central ‘‘thrill.’’ Reading for verbal music. the rush of breath delivers us to a clause whose affective cast perturbs any sense of lyric wholeness.’’ Now the language palpably turns a corner. the deceleration.’’ The liquid l and the closelipped m accumulate. after an exclamation mark.’’ ‘‘le`vre. we share with the faun a sense of breathy vocal presence that surges to an ultimate flowering on ‘‘Tressaille!’’ We share. To speak of a ‘‘secret terror’’ right after a ‘‘thrill’’ of vocal presence might seem to undercut such presence with thought. too. to consummate the desire for speech that has motivated the entire form. But it could be. with the faun. For beyond the word that seems like the climactic arrival. the feeling of retreat: the congealing of prosodic order. The prosody falls into order again. Just into the central line of seven. the muting of the poetic music.the ‘‘brise du jour chaude’’. the rush of lyricism stumbles as the faun admits to a ‘‘secret terror. in fact. the passage seems.’’ has also attained intimate contact with the world. with the faun. as he separates and specifies the two bodies in a parallel structure that clearly marks the hemistichs of the alexandrine: ‘‘Des pieds de l’inhumaine / au coeur de la timide. conversely. is transitive. in a tangible. In slipping ineluctably from a reading of dramatic passion to a 98 R            .’’ the enjambment between lines 80 and 81 stutters on the blandest vowel: ‘‘humide / De larmes.’’ to the dissipation of passion and linguistic presence into ‘‘vapors. he gives thrilling voice to materialized speech in its maximal intimacy. through the musically crowded pairing ‘‘moins tristes. quenching the breathy hiss as we read out.’’ ‘‘farouche.’’ ‘‘fardeau. the labiodental fricatives in ‘‘vierges.’’ but this verb. we find ourselves carried beyond voiced presence to a darker. that his climactic lyric music. Claiming the ‘‘sigh’’—or the ‘‘kiss’’—of lyric address for ‘‘my lip’’ instead of ‘‘their lip’’ (the only two instances of this word in the poem). the phrase remains grammatically incomplete. As a composition for mouth and ear. that the central ‘‘fold’’ marks the place where thought and feeling truly merge. after this pivotal moment. The exclamation mark may insist on the thrilling sounds in ‘‘Tressaille. With the given completion. But while we may want to believe. in the awareness of the inexorable formal rythmos of turning pages. in other words. Still. Any one-sided sense of this climactic turn would sell it short. even more palpably. At its sonorous climax.’’ and ‘‘buvant’’ bring the lower lip and upper tooth of the literary fugue’s last thematic contrast together in the faun’s own mouth.

like a wing gathered in but ready to open. The contrast between seeing and feeling. the very attempt to specify a single ‘‘tu’’ for intimate linguistic union occurs within—perhaps even causes—the withdrawal of language into the ordered prosody of the printed poem and the folded virtual feuillets of its ‘‘book’’-like form. allows for a new. pointless: and. [my emphasis]43 After the faun’s burst of lyric passion. I have represented the fearful clause astride the central ‘‘fold. But with a closer look. silence remains there. This poem-book literally ‘‘contains a secret’’ exactly at the ‘‘intervention of folding. the completion of line 78 can indeed be seen (and sensed) as an ‘‘intervention of rhythm.’’ ‘‘burden’’—but we also realize that this address to the ‘‘incarnat’’ once only seen has not succeeded in separating the ‘‘naked burden’’ into a unitary object. associated throughout the poem with seeing. forced to acknowledge that the surrender to the music of these lines has only been possible through a willful blindness to problematic shadows of meaning. becomes. we are.’’ These two nouns encapsulate. pensively. a superimposed opposition between ways of reading. synesthetically. not only do we stumble on the strangely negative overtones— ‘‘wrath. finds only an unindividuated ‘‘courroux’’ of virgins and an unspecified ‘‘fardeau nu. the nymphs remain ‘‘vierges.’’ that is. fard-eau. we must now notice.’’ in order to show the precise rhythmic touch on a single word that resonates tantalizingly with one of Mallarme´’s invocations of the book as a form. Looking back.’’ The theme of chastity.mentally mediated reading. Mallarme´’s gloss on the book ‘‘format’’ has further resonance with this The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 99 . derives its energy from the ‘‘flight’’ of these virginal nymphs from vocal contact. We hear. sonorous flashes of a rosy hue: cour-roux. vainly. The structural focus provided by this poem’s central ‘‘folding. for the mind. even the climactic conjunction of ‘‘je’’ and ‘‘tu. Finally. in this climactic turn. Even in this moment.’’ Indeed. carries over into the attempt to affirm the carnal promises of speech.’’ saved for this moment. ‘‘Se-cre`-te. previously a thematic opposition across a blank folio and a fold.’’ a symmetrical vowel structure. we find that it is shot through with reminiscences that undermine the lyric address. becomes the pivotal word in the pivotal clause. precious and evocative signs lead. concurs that extraordinary. much in the way that the illusion of eyes and the swans (or naiads) and the bath of hair fled the faun’s sight. for example. surprisingly clarified understanding of the one brief reference to the book I previously singled out as most suggestive in light of Benveniste’s thoughts on rythmos (I give a slightly awkward translation. to everything literarily abolished. initial cause that a closed page contains a secret. intervention of folding or rhythm.’’ Nine syllables divided three plus three plus three—‘‘la frayeur / secre`te / de la chair’’—frame the adjective ‘‘secre`te’’ between the two nouns. the balancing act Mallarme´ has prepared for the reader. once we begin to scrutinize the text more carefully. I think. in passing. In figure 7. to retain word order): Even to the format. Indeed. And the very sensation of breath and tooth on lip.

divided the dishevelled tuft / Of kisses which the Gods were keeping so well mixed: / For. in the poem’s first italicized ‘‘telling’’—indeed. Figure 10 opens out the central bifolio. forever ungrateful. For now.’’44 When Mallarme´ gives these ‘‘signes’’ a subtle inflection of vocality—‘‘e´vocatoires’’—and then leads. gai de vaincre ces peurs ‘‘Traitresses. ‘‘tout litte´rairement aboli’’ (all is abolished into literature) the whole ‘‘succession’’ comes to seem like an oblique gloss on the experience of reading. 8r and 9r. acknowledging that only ‘‘silence remains’’ (‘‘silence y demeure. In reading these last internal folios. alongside their companion blank folios. I have shown folios 7v and 8v. naive and not blushing:) / But from my arms. through a turn to mind (‘‘l’esprit’’) to the final words. or rhythm. After formal analysis. ‘‘La petite.45 Still. de´faits par de vagues tre´pas. to an eleven-line strophe in italics and quotes. / This prey. with no intervening blank space. From this point. a` jamais ingrate se de´livre ‘‘Sans pitie´ du sanglot dont j’e´tais encore ivre.’’ [‘‘My crime. afin que sa candeur de plume ‘‘Se teignıˆt a` l’e´moi de sa soeur qui s’allume. breaks free / Without pity for the sob with which I was still drunk. however. it is probably better to recognize that the precise moment of linguistic ‘‘folding’’ is unlocatable. gay from vanquishing those treacherous / Fears. it is to have. it seems that this tangled invocation of ‘‘le Livre’’ is not just a future-oriented fantasy about an impossible ‘‘Oeuvre. so that her feathery candor / Became tinted by the passion of her sister who flares up. I will open out the two bifolios of the gathering. / The little one. we read on versos until the end.’’ but also—like the other hints at ‘‘rhymes’’ between vers and feuillets— a trace in Mallarme´’s criticism of a ‘‘book’’ already completed in the ‘‘intellectual armature’’ of this poem. the ‘‘cygnes’’ reappear here as written ‘‘signes. in figures 8 and 9. hardly was I going to hide an ardent laugh / Beneath the happy folds of a single one (holding / With a little finger. to show their symmetries. c’est d’avoir. in the virtual book this implies a turn directly from 7r to 7v. as the faun. ‘‘Cette proie. folios 6 and 7. in other words. 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 ‘‘Mon crime. secreted within the faunlike experience of reading. The comparison of le Livre to a ‘‘flight’’ of wings strengthens one allegorical association of the ‘‘vol de cygnes’’ seen earlier. divise´ la touffe ´echevele´e ‘‘De baisers que les dieux gardaient si bien meˆle´e: ‘‘Car.’’ If we imagine turning folio 7. defeated by some vague deaths. through the crux of his Eglogue. To illustrate what it would be like to continue reading in sequence. we find that the central utterance in roman type leads directly.’’ as Mallarme´ puts it) after the fleeting claim to speech.’’] 100 R            . Again.reading experience. a` peine j’allais cacher un rire ardent ‘‘Sous les replis heureux d’une seule (gardant ‘‘Par un doigt simple. such that 7v appears to the left of 6r. naı¨ve et ne rougissant pas:) ‘‘Que de mes bras. we need to close the central bifolio. and complete the exposure of the formal ‘‘gathering’’ that centers on this ‘‘intervention of folding.

ma passion. Et notre sang. Folio 8v (9r is blank). “La petite. défaits par de vagues trépas. Quand tonne un somme triste ou s’épuise la flamme. afin que sa candeur de plume “Se teignît à l’émoi de sa soeur qui s’allume. épris de qui le va saisir. “Cette proie. que. 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 Tant pis! vers le bonheur d’autres m’entraîneront Par leur tresse nouée aux cornes de mon front: Tu sais. v 8  9. c’est d’avoir. naïve et ne rougissant pas:) “Que de mes bras. gai de vaincre ces peurs “Traitresses. divisé la touffe échevelée “De baisers que les dieux gardaient si bien mêlée: “Car. Coule pour tout l’essaim éternel du désir. à jamais ingrate se délivre “Sans pitié du sanglot dont j’étais encore ivre. À l’heure où ce bois d’or et de cendres se teinte Une fête s’exalte en la feuillée éteinte: Etna! c’est parmi toi visité de Vénus Sur ta lave posant ses talons ingénus.82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 “Mon crime. pourpre et déjà mûre. Folio 7v (8r is blank). à peine j’allais cacher un rire ardent “Sous les replis heureux d’une seule (gardant “Par un doigt simple. Chaque grénade éclate et d’abeilles murmure. The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 101 .” 7 v  8.

another striking similarity of punctuation is apparent: the poem’s only two instances of parentheses (new to this version) delicately reinforce the visual symmetry between the two folios. to a strong point of punctuation. 6r. 73 “De roses tarissant tout parfum au soleil. begins with moral judgment instead of agency: it owns up to a ‘‘crime. gai de vaincre ces peurs “Traitresses.’’ Then. qui noie en l’onde sa brûlure 65 “Avec un cri de rage au ciel de la forêt. divisé la touffe échevelée “De baisers que les dieux gardaient si bien mêlée: “Car. 63 “Mon oeil. 74 “Où notre ébat au jour consumé soit pareil. after some oblique. quand. forms a direct response to the one before. One such third-person reflexive. Each begins with a first-person possessive. and proceeds through three linked lines.” v r r 62 Ô nymphes. s’entrejoignent (meurtries 69 “De la langueur goûtée à ce mal d’être deux) 70 “Des dormeuses parmi leurs seuls bras hasardeux. Later in both strophes. défaits par de vagues trépas. trouant les joncs. regonflons des SOUVENIRS divers. c’est d’avoir. The first-person possessive that begins 6r initiates the crescendo of pronominal force towards the lyric climax. in reflexive verbs. à mes pieds. ô pierreries! 68 “J’accours. 66 “Et le splendide bain de cheveux disparaît 67 “Dans les clartés et les frissons. “La petite. et vole 72 “À ce massif. à peine j’allais cacher un rire ardent “Sous les replis heureux d’une seule (gardant “Par un doigt simple. with similar internal structures of commas and clauses. past-tense first-person constructions—‘‘c’est d’avoir divise´. Open bifolio showing 7v and 6r. ‘‘Mon oeil’’ and ‘‘Mon crime’’ (the change of the first from ‘‘Mes yeux’’ in the Improvisation nicely exemplifies formal clarification through revision). 7v. afin que sa candeur de plume “Se teignît à l’émoi de sa soeur qui s’allume. to the objects of the discourse. “Cette proie. naïve et ne rougissant pas:) “Que de mes bras. The italicized strophe after the central fold. ‘‘Se teignıˆt. à jamais ingrate se délivre “Sans pitié du sanglot dont j’étais encore ivre. haï par l’ombrage frivole.” 6 6 v 7  10.82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 7 “Mon crime. dardait chaque encolure 64 “Immortelle. sans les désenlacer. This congruence of structure gives emphasis to the linguistic contrast appropriate to the two folios’ different formal positions.’’ ‘‘a` peine j’allais cacher’’—most actions in the later strophe become attributed. 7v. by contrast. 71 “Je les ravis.’’ now comes to occupy the line-leading position formerly 102 R            .

which was signaled by the settling into prosodic order.’’ In the central outburst.’’ poised on the outer edge of the central bifolio. Given that our experience as faunlike readers has been so compellingly composed into the poem. in identifying his ‘‘crime’’ as one of ‘‘division’’ on 7v. figure 9. showing 8v to the left of 5r. to capture sensuous experience on the page. now recognized as beyond the grasp of language.’’ the prey inevitably escapes. reluctantly closing it even as we try to recall the promise of rosy presence in the lyric address. The whiteness of one nymph is described with a metaphor. in other words.’’ ‘‘ne rougissant pas’’—a coloristic echo of his earliest vision of flesh (‘‘incarnat’’) and of the climactic echoes (‘‘-roux’’ and ‘‘fard-’’). the faun elaborates on the association between the bodies in the poem and the poetic language in his mouth.’’ from his ‘‘defeated’’ arms. our ‘‘single finger. in part. As before. The ‘‘naive’’ nymph.’’ ‘‘feathery whiteness. whether this is. already faded into innocent marks on the white paper. que.’’ The faun’s ‘‘crime. Although the faun tries to hold onto his desirous illusion.’’ that recalls the ‘‘plume’’ of the writer.’’ he touches again on lost oral pleasures: ‘‘hardly was I going to hide an ardent laugh / beneath the happy folds of one of them. I will refer in my analysis to the open bifolio. the poem’s underlying reflection on the act of reading. He admits having divided a ‘‘disheveled tuft of kisses. The later folio also continues. attempting to be more precise about this ‘‘crime. 93 94 95 Tant pis! vers le bonheur d’autres m’entraıˆneront Par leur tresse noue´e aux cornes de mon front: Tu sais. litte´rairement aboli. vainly. but it can also be read as a figure for the joyous lyricism breathed into the open fold of the single central bifolio—that is.’’ The image of a spasm of laughter into ‘‘happy folds’’ has obvious sexual implications. Now. we could well recall here Mallarme´’s summons to treat his poems as ‘‘pieces at the keyboard. ‘‘se de´livre. the pen that makes the marks that seek. in fact.’’ In the parenthesis on 7v. and deepens. The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 103 . measured by feuillets. which was related to the attempt to specify the nymphs.’’ We might ask. ‘‘s’allume. Now. pourpre et de´ja` muˆre. we would see 8v and the blank 9r.’’ they now escape. a settling into ordered prosody. it seems. If we restore the central bifolio and turn folio 8 (let us avoid sobbing with the faun). The central turn in language involved.’’ and is followed by another reflexive.’’ In direct response to his earlier claim to seize the nymphs with the words ‘‘Je les ravis. ma passion. the faun turns to the language of visual description and deepens his remorse with a retrospection on the other side of the divided experience of reading. is ‘‘not blushing. was to divide the beautifully mixed—‘‘bien meˆle´e’’—oral sensations of lyric speech in the search for meaning. and to rekindle passion with a ‘‘single finger.claimed by ‘‘J’accours. ‘‘candeur de plume. active.’’ then. into the ‘‘replis heureux d’un seul feuillet. figure 11. the sensuous fricatives materialized the contact between ‘‘lower lip’’ and ‘‘upper tooth’’ as a lyric ‘‘kiss.

Again. Open bifolio showing 8v and 5r. Coule pour tout l’essaim éternel du désir. À l’heure où ce bois d’or et de cendres se teinte Une fête s’exalte en la feuillée éteinte: Etna! c’est parmi toi visité de Vénus Sur ta lave posant ses talons ingénus. Et notre sang. À leur ombre enlever encore des ceintures: Ainsi. taken by that which will seize it. Rieur. purple and already ripe. instrument des fuites. de ma rumeur fier. [Too bad! toward happiness others will lead me / By their tress knotted around the horns on my brow: / You know. ` l’heure ou` ce bois d’or et de cendres se teinte A Une feˆte s’exalte en la feuille´e e´teinte: Etna! c’est parmi toi visite´ de Ve´nus Sur ta lave posant ses talons inge´nus. pourpre et déjà mûre. avide D’ivresse. e´pris de qui le va saisir. v r 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 Tâche donc. / In the hour that this wood becomes tinted with gold and cinders / A festival is celebrated in the extinguished foliage: / Etna! it is amongst you visited by Venus / On your lava treading her innocent talons. Quand tonne un somme triste ou s’e´puise la flamme. Pour bannir un regret par ma feinte écarté. that. my passion. Chaque grénade éclate et d’abeilles murmure. soufflant dans ses peaux lumineuses.] The formal relationship between these two strophes in roman type. quand des raisins j’ai sucé la clarté. je vais parler longtemps Des déesses. / Each pomegranate bursts and murmurs with bees. ô maligne Syrinx. / When a sad sleep thunders where the flame is extinguished. 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 Chaque gre´nade e´clate et d’abeilles murmure.93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 8 Tant pis! vers le bonheur d’autres m’entraîneront Par leur tresse nouée aux cornes de mon front: Tu sais. Et notre sang. is as clear as that between the two italicized strophes. jusqu’au soir je regarde au travers. Quand tonne un somme triste ou s’épuise la flamme. the 104 R            . épris de qui le va saisir. / And our blood. j’élève au ciel d’été la grappe vide Et. eleven and ten lines long. de refleurir aux lacs où tu m’attends! Moi. Coule pour tout l’essaim e´ternel du de´sir. / Flows for all the eternal swarm of desire. 5 5 r v 8  11. et par d’idolâtres peintures. ma passion. que.

‘‘me. the ‘‘grapes’’ on 5r.’’ and then to the collective first- The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 105 . Furthermore. The 1876 version brings the ejaculation and imperative closer both in grammar (two words to a point of punctuation) and tone (a similar hint of colloquial speech in ‘‘donc’’).’’ which specifies the ‘‘goddess’’ image. The Improvisation.structural parallel is clearest at the start.’’ Again. ‘‘ma fluˆte’’ (see fig. transforms it into a named metaphor for the universal problematic of desire.’’ The rejection of the flute on 5r sets up the anticipation of speech to ‘‘goddesses’’ led by the strong first-person ‘‘Moi. And again.’’ did not even have the shared consonant. It is also possible to read 8v in a way that enriches the formal implications of the ‘‘book’’ model. .’’ The third line of 8v leads with the ‘‘tu’’ turned back on the faun himself. .’’ passively led to happiness (in some imagined future) by ‘‘others. for the desired nymphs with a cry of ‘‘Venus. In anticipating later agency on 5r.’’ he tries to derive a general moral from the linguistic frustration he has experienced. a feast ‘‘is exalted’’ (‘‘s’exalte’’). attempting to console himself in his solitude. the ‘‘pomegranate’’ that ‘‘murmurs’’ with bees. The counterposed imagery in the two strophes also serves the pronominal progression. that is. Finally. the pronominal sequence on this last ‘‘internal folio’’ precisely reverses that on the poem’s first ‘‘internal folio. ‘‘tu gloses’’ (and ‘‘dis-tu’’). the faun imagines lifting the girdles of ‘‘goddesses’’ and visually penetrating their ‘‘ombre. he imagines himself as an object. the progression from 5r to 8v is most evident in the verbs. ‘‘tu sais. the structural congruence marks a change in pronominal situation.’’ On 2r. it is now each pomegranate that ‘‘bursts’’ and our blood that ‘‘flows.’’ By contrast. On 5r the faun rejects the Syrinx as ‘‘tu. Each begins with the same consonant. on 5r.’’ shifts to self-directed second-person. 8v begins by transposing the implied hair imagery of ‘‘ombre’’ to the nymphs’ ‘‘tresses. the collective first-person ‘‘Re´fle´chissons’’ pivoted to self-directed second person. with this verb. which became first-person possessive. Mallarme´’s revision strengthened the parallel.’’ On 8v. through the ‘‘crime’’ of division. with ‘‘De´daignons-les!’’ and ‘‘Taˆche. 8v replaces the ‘‘de´esses’’ that grandly stand. the speech—ma rumeur—once claimed by the faun from the murmuring flute. ‘‘mon front.’’ now knotted to the horns of the faun’s brow. a first-person possessive. In addition to its answers to 5r. 3). are answered on 8v by a different fruit. . metaphorical substitutes subject to the agency of sight and breath. This fruit thus explicitly retakes. Addressing his own emotion—‘‘tu sais. As on 6r and 7v. reflexive verbs accumulate: the wood ‘‘becomes tinted’’ (‘‘se teinte’’). Desirous contact is literally ‘‘sublimated’’ upwards. heading a two-word fragment of comparatively direct speech—ejaculation (‘‘Tant pis!) and imperative (‘‘Taˆche donc’’)—and continues through two lines to a strong point of punctuation. noble instrument . once more. ma passion’’—and soon pivoting to the collective first person ‘‘notre. with loss. In place of the faun’s earlier energetic agency. As on 7v and 6r. On 8v. in exact reversal. and associates it. ma passion.

in fact.’’ Indeed. broad. At one point. pronominal form. which anticipates that the language of the whole gathering will occur in the ‘‘apre`s-midi’’ of the poem’s title. a quasi-material demonstration of the link between the ‘‘mobility’’ Benveniste highlights in the formal implications of rythmos and the similar notions Mallarme´ expresses about le Livre. in spite of the impression of fixity. give different possible expressions of the structural rythmos carried by the most important gravitational force in the poem’s linguistic texture. Later. we glimpse two of ‘‘several distinct orders’’ in which this virtual book might be read. 8v and 2r).’’46 Scherer’s gloss on this idea is. and Mallarme´ clearly intended that its folios were to be mobile. must take from it. certainly not in any order whatsoever.’’ The temporal sequence is relatively clear. in fulfilling the earlier anticipation of evening and completing one diurnal cycle of this pastoral world. which their numeration indicates. The faun’s backward look in line 4 to ‘‘la nuit ancienne’’ (‘‘ancient night. we might notice that the folios of the virtual ‘‘book’’ could actually be opened out differently. particularly clear: Ordinary books are bound. to show 8v alongside 2r. becomes through this game. two moments in yet another. that is. after the noon brightness of the ‘‘ciel d’e´te´’’ that begins the second half. Folio 5r finishes in the bright light of day beneath the ‘‘ciel d’e´te´’’. he muses that ‘‘the volume.’’ or more simply ‘‘last night’’). we can recognize that these are. Le Livre is not obliged to submit to this subjection. mobile—from death it becomes life. in these alternative juxtapositions (8v and 5r. One possible ‘‘law’’ limiting such permutations suggests itself if we look to the last five lines of 5r and 8v (see again fig. The sunset hues on 8v. 8v ends with the sunset hues of ‘‘or’’ and ‘‘cendres’’ in the ‘‘extinguished foliage. also tie off the continuous 106 R            . each folio indicates a time: ‘‘a` l’heure ou`’’ falls in the same position as ‘‘ainsi. A temporal progression runs steadily through the whole succession of formal feuillets.person ‘‘notre. again. we reach ‘‘jusqu’au soir’’ on 5r. 11). and reading it alongside 2r as well as 5r. with a brief glance back through the entire poem. leads through ‘‘le matin frais’’ (line 15) to the burning heat of ‘‘l’heure fauve’’ in line 32. a mobility. Perhaps we glimpse. in other words. At this point. supra-imagistic ‘‘rhythmic’’ order. 8v and 2r—is an arbitrary order (an ‘‘ordre quelconque’’) because both arise from ‘‘permutations’’ of the virtual foliation. but according to several distinct orders determined by the laws of permutation. their pages follow one another in a fixed order. directly.’’ Elsewhere.47 In ‘‘changing the place’’ of 8v. It will thus be possible to change their positions.’’ Referring now to the schematic diagram that accompanies the various figures. Both. he writes that ‘‘the book. quand. then. total expansion of the letter. Neither one of these orders—8v and 5r. for example. and read them.

’’ We. O 105 Non. have only been able to pretend briefly to find real presence in written language by blinding ourselves to the delicious falsehood of breathing passionate language into luminous pages. I think we could imagine holding the closed book. does not only foresee his eventual isolation in the falling dusk. material subtext of the faun’s claim to ‘‘hold the queen. it seems.’’ Earlier. As evening descends at the end of 8v. four isolated ˆ ’’)—mark the turn out syllables—‘‘je tiens la reine!’’ (the e atone elides with the ‘‘O onto the outer bifolio: 104 Je tiens la reine! ˆ suˆr chaˆtiment . too. as not only diachronic and progressive but also synchronic—that is. . in the knowledge that he has not been able to make these conventional spaces sustain lyric desire. Still. and turning it back and forth to see the relationship shown in figure 12. The anticipation of evening in 5r.’’ line 8). despairing cry—and a ‘‘toi’’—to Etna. Recall that the lines that precede ‘‘jusqu’au soir je regarde au travers’’ (57–61) are shadowed with regret. limiting the permutations of its mobile feuillets.’’ On this direct refutation of any attempt to reignite the ‘‘sparks’’ of tradition. Now. Closing the ‘‘Book’’ with a Pastoral Valediction If we were to close the outer bifolio over the inner spaces of the book we would see only the last seven lines. the Sicilian mountain of Theocritean pastoral. because I want to show how it relates to the first. has further implications for this composed reading experience. as a way to experience one ironic. . mais l’aˆme De paroles vacantes et ce corps alourdi The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 107 . with full presence and true address. I will not represent the final folio alone. the faun manages a last. we must reluctantly turn the outer ‘‘cover’’ over lost dreams of lyricism. folio 9v. As a ‘‘sad sleep thunders. the page-turn into the internal feuillets was marked by the four freehanging syllables of a pronominal pivot (‘‘Re´fle´chissons. The whole attempt to speak. however. folded and interleaved. will have been— the future anterior implied in ‘‘quand j’ai suce´’’—only a ‘‘feint’’ to banish this ‘‘regret.’’ we can only share his gloom as we read through one last echo—and negation—of the conventional imagery of classical continuity: ‘‘the flame is extinguished.thread of time that loosely binds the Eglogue-livre. The faun. he also knows in advance that by then he will have done nothing more than stare into grape skins.

this strong first-person exclamation comes as a surprise. I will see the shadow that you became.. prouve.] After the ‘‘extinguished flame’’ at the end of 8v. hélas! que bien seul je m’offrais Pour triomphe la faute idéale de roses — 1 v 9  12. ‘‘oˆ suˆr chaˆtiment. demeuré les vrais Bois mêmes.’’ states all five vowels in a row. No. Open bifolio showing 9v and 1r. 9 v r 1 r Si clair. je les veux perpétuer. holding nothing but the book itself—that his bold claim to ‘‘hold the queen’’ is a spasm of pronominal agency whose time has passed. / On the corrupted sand lying prone and as I like / To open my mouth to the efficacious star of wines! / Couple. adieu. . 108 R            . Sur le sable altéré gisant et comme j’aime Ouvrir ma bouche à l’astre efficace des vins! 110 Couple. The next fragment of this broken vers. 105 106 107 108 109 Non. qui. 104 Je tiens la reine! Ô sûr châtiment . adieu. s’achève En maint rameau subtil. adieu. . ‘‘oˆ-uˆ-aˆ-i-e. Aimai-je un rêve? 4 5 6 7 Mon doute. however ‘‘e´vocatoire’’ it might once have seemed. mais l’âme De paroles vacantes et ce corps alourdi Tard succombent au fier silence de midi: Sans plus il faut dormir en l’oubli du blasphème. je vais voir l’ombre que tu devins. amas de nuit ancienne. is really just one mute vowel ‘‘signe’’ among many others. But the faun immediately recognizes—as we do. qu’il voltige dans l’air 3 Assoupi de sommeils touffus..L’Après-midi d’un faune Églogue LE FAUNE 1 Ces nymphes. but the soul / Empty of words and this weighty body / Belatedly succumb to the proud silence of noon: / Without more ado it is necessary to sleep forgetting blasphemy. 106 107 108 109 Tard succombent au fier silence de midi: Sans plus il faut dormir en l’oubli du blasphe`me.’’ marking a recognition that the ‘‘oˆ’’ of apostrophe. [I hold the queen! O sure chastisement . je vais voir l’ombre que tu devins. Sur le sable alte´re´ gisant et comme j’aime Ouvrir ma bouche a` l’astre efficace des vins! 110 Couple. 2 Leur incarnat léger.

’’ the faun turns away from his untimely first-person asserˆ ’’ and acknowledges the split in his tion and from the loss of the world-invoking ‘‘O identity that has undermined his search for speech.With a blunt ‘‘non. that it vaults into the air / Weighted down with tufted slumbers. . je les veux perpe´tuer. Considered prosodically. the first and last folios of the faun poem might well be seen to articulate an immovable ‘‘cover. and the last folio. might be seen to take the initial loss of speech to versification one step further.) / O sure chastisement . And perhaps I have shown one too many lines: the question ‘‘Aimai-je . to two rhyming couplets (105–8). Indeed. ? ’’ seems a good ending for this tangle of two feuillets (but I like the The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 109 . folded center of the closed Eglogue-livre. each complete ensemble consisting of the first folio. which would not move and would serve as a kind of cover . .’’ Here. Non. needless to say. rhythmically unconstrained wisp of speech. finally. . . If we take the pronominal similarity between the first lines (both bring ‘‘je’’ together with an object) to suggest two interchangeable openings. O Leur incarnat le´ger. . . mobile. I want to perpetuate them. the interleaved folios. . where the colon at the end of line 106 seems to allow the faun’s question from line 3 to be added as an extra. and somewhat interchangeable.’’ for their precise visual deployment of spacing and line-breaks actually makes it possible to interweave them. qu’il voltige dans l’air Assoupi de sommeils touffus. the woven aggregate looks like this: Je tiens la reine! (Ces nymphes. their light carnation. . . different.) ˆ suˆr chaˆtiment . Si clair. So clear. . No. Only ‘‘silence remains’’—‘‘silence y demeure’’—in the secret. . is a delayed recognition that ‘‘proud noise’’ has been unsustainable. but the soul / Empty of words and this heavy body / At last succumb to the proud silence of noon: Did I love a dream? / Without more it is necessary to sleep forgetful of blasphemy . would have to present a coherent meaning and succession. mais l’aˆme De paroles vacantes et ce corps alourdi Tard succombent au fier silence de midi: Aimai-je un reˆve? Sans plus il faut dormir en l’oubli du blasphe`me .48 Beyond their relatively clear positional and proportional relationship. With a ‘‘soul’’ now ‘‘empty of words.’’ as glossed by Scherer: One schema Mallarme´ seems to have considered would be the following: the first and the last page of a booklet would be written on the same folded bifolio.] I have stretched the prosody only once. which begins by recapitulating the disordered speech of the first. the formal relationship between these two outer feuillets attains an exceptional tightness that again recalls Mallarme´’s vision of the book ‘‘format.’’ his ‘‘heavy body’’ belatedly succumbs to the ‘‘proud silence of noon. [I hold the queen! (Those nymphs. . . in the interior would be placed single folios. the last folio.

From this point. in a way that further strengthens the outer bifolio as the ‘‘couverture’’ of the whole poem.]50 Rather than ‘‘arising. In a last. / The shade of junipers. but the second person has become grammatically distanced by an interposed ‘‘que. now. for the shadowy divide between ‘‘je’’ and ‘‘tu’’ that the lyric voice seeks vainly to overleap. But one word remains unaccounted for. ungraspable between future and past. The tenth and last Eclogue. Mallarme´ weaves all of his poem’s main linguistic dilemmas into a web of oppositions around this last Virgilian ‘‘shadow. ‘‘Je’’ and ‘‘tu’’ appear together in this line.’’ Mallarme´’s faun falls prone—‘‘gisant’’—on the sand. in fact. for the shadowy point of loss between collective and specific address. With respect to the main.’’ echoing Virgil’s evening star. to the voice of the poet: surgamus: solet esse gravis cantantibus umbra. it seems that the faun has settled for seeing—reading—as his only remaining relationship to the world. and for the shadowy present. ite capellae. motivating dichotomy of the poem. iuniperi gravis umbra.’’ Addressing the ‘‘couple’’ with the singular pronoun ‘‘tu. assuming Tityrus’s posture when a desertlike emptiness is all that remains of his pastoral world. the last words of Mallarme´’s Eglogue-livre can be read as a revoicing of the closing gesture of Virgil’s whole book of pastoral poems. this is not. an ‘‘ombre’’ echoes Virgil’s ‘‘umbra. by echoing the celebrated ‘‘vespertinal’’ valedictory tone that ends several of Virgil’s pastorals. 110 R            . Mallarme´ brings back his finely tuned response to classical pastoral. ends with a return. a song for an unrequited lover that names itself (‘‘a song for Gallus’’). and shade harms crops. [Arise: the shade weighs heavily on singers.49 More precisely. In a remarkably efficient gesture of summation.’’ seeing opposes being. my goats: go: Vesper comes. In the last line. ‘‘vais voir’’ and ‘‘devins. less obvious juxtaposition. But he ends by pointedly recalling the two most distinctive features of Virgil’s twilit ending. becomes the intoxicating goal—‘‘the star of wines’’—of his gaping mouth. / Go home well fed. replacing the flesh for which he thirsted in the central utterance (‘‘ma le`vre en feu buvant’’). after Gallus’s monologue. distantly answering the initial transformation of sheltering shade into shadows of doubt. venit Hesperus. and most appropriately. the Virgilian shadow comes to stand. the spoken future tense opposes the (written) past historic. The poem began with several recompositions of the opening of Virgil’s first Eclogue.answer of ‘‘reˆve’’ by ‘‘il faut dormir en l’oubli’’). multiply. At any rate.’’ In the two last verbs.’’ the faun revisits his persistent failure to separate the mass of flesh into specific objects. It ends. Within this formal web. ite domum saturae. the final note of the poem.’’ the shadow of junipers and of the falling dusk. An ‘‘astre. nocent et frugibus umbrae.

With the address of valediction.’’ Scherer describes one detailed instance of a recurring ‘‘theme of appeal’’: A narrator who speaks in the first person is confronted with two women. also finds an echo in the very letter that states this ‘‘orphic’’ ambition. he asserts.‘‘adieu’’ contrasts with the ‘‘ombre’’ (the last sight) as the poem’s last trace of pure speech. suggests that the ‘‘unity and sense’’ of the whole oeuvre begins to become clear once we see that ‘‘the summits of the published work are bathed in a strange light that has its invisible origin in the last. Expression—and Personality In the sketches for Le Livre. in the virtual feuillets of the faun’s Eglogue-livre. will be ‘‘architectural and premeditated. for example. History. as Scherer observes. oscillates between the levels of reality. The relationship between these past and future ‘‘books’’ takes on wider implicaThe Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 111 . incomplete Livre. the narrator of the fragment directs his attention toward the two women.’’52 When L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune is approached in light of these obsessive structural ideals rather than as a loosely ordered ‘‘recueil’’ of suggestive imagery. The envisioned Livre. and that it is accompanied by reminiscences both metaphysical and sensuous in nature.’’53 But it is better to say that this ‘‘strange light’’ has its ‘‘invisible origin’’ not only in the future ‘‘Livre dernier et inacheve´. it can be recognized as a secret. But the other side of Scherer’s simple observation. the faun reaches out to the world one more time. here as there. Furthermore. those about the contents are hardly sketched. a memory of that earlier poem-book shines within the Livre sketches themselves.54 This reappearance of the ‘‘ensemble’’ of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune for the dramatis personae of a staged ‘‘appeal’’ in le Livre thus ties this ever-incomplete project back to the work in which Mallarme´ made the problem of lyric address—speech in the first person—the organizing force for a virtual foliation in poetic form.’’ but also in the past. In indicating ‘‘the most important fragment of the manuscript that does elaborate a content. ‘‘the reflections on structure are very well developed. and not a collection of unordered inspirations. Indeed. The ensemble of these three characters evokes the faun and the two nymphs all the more in that the scene. With this recognition. but they are only attentive to one another. and the imagination. Scherer. only to relinquish it. memory. regarding Mallarme´’s near-manic obsession in the sketches with issues of structure.’’51 Perhaps such vagueness about ‘‘contents’’ appears self-explanatory. as in the Faune. virtual Book whose ‘‘premeditated architecture’’ is created through the formal composition of poetic contents themselves. some common tropes about the place of ‘‘the Book’’ within Mallarme´’s development come into question. given that Mallarme´’s vision of the Book as ‘‘the orphic explication of the Earth’’ (as once he expressed it to Verlaine) seems so impossibly grandiose as to render its specifics eternally unwritable. Architecture.

its form arises. ‘‘the enthusiastic personal direction of the phrase’’ in the ‘‘je-tu’’ address. who distinguishes the ‘‘aesthetic’’ motives of Mallarme´’s ‘‘desperate expenditure of poetic energy’’ from any purely theoretical concerns with ‘‘the nature of discourse.’’ because I think historical understanding of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune depends on a recognition that poetic practice might aim to distinguish between them. The possibility that any one of his poems might be structured through a reactivation of the classical dream of voiced presence is lost. however. for one. in other words. in reading Mallarme´ through the lens of his own criticism.’’ But its ‘‘premeditated architecture’’ comes into being through a reinvestment in the devices of personal utterance that can only be shared. readings of this poem have been somewhat one-sided. at the poetic moment. an effect once succinctly described by Peter Dayan. bourgeois discourse’’ Mallarme´ rejects in his pursuit of ‘‘ideal instinct’’ is characterized by both its ‘‘urge to facile representation’’ and its ‘‘clarity. and enacted.’’57 I highlight the two functions of language brought together in this capsule account of ‘‘bourgeois discourse. for example. linearity. Generally.’’ Even for a poet acutely aware of language’s illusory nature. the paragraph is striking. of the poet-as-man. primarily.tions once we recognize the extent to which many critics.’’ Mallarme´’s poetry. mobilized by the shock of their inequality. repeatedly highlights the faun’s rejection of the ‘‘paltry art of representation.’’56 Dayan’s exemplary caution regarding theory and practice does not. in its full vibrancy. in any unreflective acceptance of these famous lines from Crise de vers: The pure work implies the elocutionary disappearance of the poet. be total. Dayan suggests in his book Mallarme´’s Divine Transposition. Of course this poem also shows lyricism shattering into ‘‘reciprocal reflections of words.’’58 But while ‘‘representation’’ is undeniably one of the poem’s themes. for the precision with which it specifies the components of lyricism reclaimed at the crux of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune: ‘‘the perceptible respiration in the ancient lyric breath’’ in the sibilant verbal music.’’ Only in this way can the reader come to experience. prevent him from blurring one linguistic distinction fundamental to the faun poem’s encapsulation of its ‘‘poetic moment. and expressiveness. in fact. by holding in abeyance all assumptions about Mallarme´’s ‘‘elocutionary disappearance. who cedes the initiative to the words. ‘‘means the death both of the individual and of the ability to express. ‘‘the illusion that the illusion is no illusion must. have been willing to ignore the centrality of ‘‘speech in the first person’’ to his poetic practice.55 Often quoted to encapsulate Mallarme´’s ‘‘impersonal’’ poetic accomplishment. out of the pursuit of the different linguistic promise glimpsed in Scherer’s ‘‘theme of appeal’’ and in Mallarme´’s ‘‘enthusiastic personal direction 112 R            . replacing the perceptible respiration in the ancient lyric breath and the enthusiastic personal direction of the phrase.’’ He suggests that the ‘‘standard. they flare up with reciprocal reflections like a virtual trail of fire on jewels. Pearson. and of a certain type of representative literature. now.

with an obvious Saussurian inflection. to put it more bluntly.’’ The study of that constituent quality of language and of the correlations of regularity or disharmony which it involves . culture. And here Benveniste’s third term. that is. . which is none other than that of intersubjective communication. He begins by emphasizing the nonreferential nature of such signs: These ‘‘pronominal’’ forms do not refer to ‘‘reality’’ or to ‘‘objective’’ positions in space or time but to the utterance. it is. His difficulty throughout is. those of the ‘‘significant’’ and the ‘‘signified. address. The importance of their function will be measured by the nature of the problem they serve to solve. expression. is always built up on two planes.60 Clearly. .’’ as the projection through form The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 113 . . Benveniste’s ‘‘trinomial’’ promises a richer account of the motivations of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune than any reflexive invocation of language’s ‘‘two planes’’ of signification. he claims that both a ‘‘Structuralist’’ and a ‘‘Post-Structuralist’’ Mallarme´ come into being in the works of the 1860s. we might ask whether the expressive motivations of L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune could be better interpreted in light of the ‘‘trinomial’’ linguistics Benveniste once proposed as an alternative to Saussure’s binary system: Language . . and at the same time the instrument of that interaction.61 Perhaps. or describing—his desired nymphs. . precisely. rather than a facilitator of. it is the point of interaction between the mental and the cultural life in man. . . we might describe L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune. that contains them.’’ also obviously comes into play. Language has solved this problem by creating an ensemble of ‘‘empty’’ signs that . could alone serve as a basis for linguistics. But absent this presumption. and personality.59 Against such anachronism. . Another linguistics could be founded on the terms of this trinomial: language.’’ The central focus for Mallarme´’s ‘‘desperate expenditure of poetic energy’’ in 1876.’’ Indeed. unique each time. communication. ‘‘culture. the preeminent devices of linguistic ‘‘personality’’ and the primary determinants of this poem’s structural rythmos. . After all. which can seem to turn the ‘‘Syrinx’’ of poetic language into an ‘‘instrument des fuites’’—a barrier to. one of ‘‘interaction’’ (or. intricate negotiation with the intertextual layers of pastoral tradition. are always available and become ‘‘full’’ as soon as the speaker introduces them into each instance of his discourse. through this Eglogue’s pointed. on what he terms. with its articulation around a fraught claim to ‘‘intersubjective communication. intercourse) with them. Precise historical understanding begins to come into view along this ‘‘trinomial’’ approach if we turn first to Benveniste’s comments on pronouns. is not reference or mimesis. Mallarme´’s rejection of ‘‘conventional and arbitrary reference.of the phrase. this ‘‘other linguistics’’ will seem a strange basis for Mallarme´ interpretation as long as ‘‘personality’’ is presumptively effaced from accounts of his poetics. But language is also human. then. personal interaction. Pearson’s emphasis on ‘‘representation’’ reflects his focus. the faun never has much trouble seeing—or indicating. rather. through the ‘‘instrument’’ of language. throughout his book.

cela e´clate. March 1893. ‘‘Tityre. the ‘‘polarity of persons.of an attempt to make ‘‘empty’’ pronominal signs ‘‘full. sa fixite´ formant norme. here. is only a mere pragmatic consequence. being. Correspondance. tu. in his very first utterance. avant tout. or with the ‘‘vaine ligne’’ and the later ‘‘paroles vacantes’’—it does not yet do justice to the poem’s precise calibration of the ‘‘emptiness’’ or ‘‘fullness’’ of various pronominal utterances.’’ No t e s 1. en un certain nombre de traits e´gaux. se multiplie. ou le Vers. To avoid potential confusion. ed. in which we share. comme le vers’’. rapidement. ‘‘Le fait poe´tique lui-meˆme consiste a` grouper. completely exterior to ‘‘me.’’ that is called into question when the faun. 6 ( January 1893–July 1894). 65–66. Le poe`me reste bref.’’ And it is.’’ But while this formulation resonates with some of its imagery—say. replaces Meliboeus’s communication. the first person is not. in Ste´phane Mallarme´. disposer la commune mesure. historically determined pronominal implication: ‘‘je vais voir l’ombre que ‘tu’ devins. through a ‘‘desperate expenditure of poetic energy. en un livre. the acknowledged futility of this desire that brings the Eglogue to a close on the shadowy valediction we can now repunctuate to reflect its precise. rather. with the breath into grape skins and the ‘‘swelling again’’ with memories. furthermore. ‘‘tu. qu’il s’agit d’appliquer. with its mobile rythmos of folds.’’ should be understood throughout to mean a line of poetry. Rosemary Lloyd (Chicago. Ste´phane Mallarme´.’’ the livre form. the one who. note that ‘‘le vers. Arthur Rimbaud’s ‘‘je est un autre. of which the process of communication. that is. now.’’ as Benveniste puts it. the (previously implicit) relationship between ‘‘je’’ and its addressee. letter to Charles Bonnier. 114 R            . riment ensemble. It is.’’ For Mallarme´’s faun. This polarity of persons is the fundamental condition in language. telles pense´es lointaines autrement et e´parses. 1988).’’ becomes my echo to whom I say you and who says you to me.62 It is in this light that we might. translations are my own.’’ with the observation ‘‘Ces nymphes.’’ It is. He begins and ends by saying ‘‘je’’ and has access to first-person reflexives and possessives from start to finish. Il faut donc. mais qui. pour les ajuster. as he is. Unless otherwise noted. We approach the core issue more closely by considering Benveniste’s comments on the most weighty of all pronominal promises: I posits another person. vol. I have found valuable assistance in Selected Letters of Ste´phane Mallarme´. his desire to reestablish this ‘‘fundamental condition of language’’ that creates. rather than a strophe or stanza (as its English cognate might imply). the primary problem. in itself. and trans. 1959–85). je. 191. Henri Mondor and Lloyd James Austin (Paris.’’ whether translated as ‘‘verse’’ or ‘‘line. around the climactic voicing of ‘‘je t’adore. glimpse a crucial distinction between the position articulated in this poem and the most famous of all catchphrases for the finde-sie`cle crisis in subjectivity. pour ainsi parler. ed. finally.

On the faun poem. Mary Elizabeth Meek (Coral Gables.’’ in Quelques Me´daillons et Portraits en Pied. Henri Mondor and G. Bertrand Marchal (Paris. Roger Pearson. Le ‘‘Livre’’ de Mallarme´. une sorte de feu courant pianote´ autour. 1953). 1958).. 643.’’ Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature 42 (1994): 57–69. Marchal. ‘‘Paroles creuses: du duo de vierges au solo du Faune. L’Oeuvre poe´tique de Ste´phane Mallarme´ (Paris. rev. Henri Mondor. 1985). Histoire d’un faune (Paris. 3. Gardner Davies. 175–81 and 182–200. 9. ‘‘Le Schizo and Oedipe: The Structure of Desire in L’apre`s-midi d’un faune (Poem and Prelude). ‘‘Le Livre. but I hope the different thrust of my analysis speaks for itself. 285–86. 2 (May–August 1988): 176–89.2. Mallarme´’s L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune: An Exegetical and Critical Study (Melbourne. 6. 1977). in OC.. 13–32. 870. see. ‘‘L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune de Ste´phane Mallarme´: Lexique compare´e des troits e´tats du poe`me. and Lies: ‘L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune’ as an ars poetica. en quelque chose d’identique au clavier primitif de la parole. A. 281– 88. 41–137. 148–67. 1948). Mallarme´ ou l’obscurite´ lumineuse (Paris.’’ in his Problems in General Linguistics.’’ where Mallarme´ writes of the poet ‘‘laissant son doigte´ de´faillir contre la onzie`me syllable ou se propager jusqu’a` une treizie`me’’.. Henri Meschonnic (Paris. 7. ‘‘De morceaux sur le clavier. Lecture.’’ in Quant au Livre. 1988). ed. ed. 1971). the primary sources include Jacques Scherer. For a relatively recent. 4. Letters. Jean-Aubry (Paris. Toward the Poems of Mallarme´. Wallace Fowlie. 380. (This edition of the Oeuvres comple`tes cited hereafter as OC2). et marque (avant que ne dissolve. ‘‘Villiers de l’Isle Adam. Ibid. (Paris. Fla. ´ecrits sur le Livre. Mallarme´ et la ‘‘Couche suffisante d’intelligibilite´ ’’ (Paris. 1940): 220–47. Oeuvres comple`tes. and Ste´phane Mallarme´. (Berkeley. trans. OC 362. ed. Mallarme´ (Chicago. Robert Greer Cohn. ‘‘The Notion of ‘Rhythm’ in Its Linguistic Expression. ‘‘Sur l’e´volution litte´raire’’ (1891 interview with Jules Huret). Charles D. ed. in Ste´phane Mallarme´. no. romantique. toute d’audace. rev. E. Truth. ed. 5. 67–78. et la liberte´. ‘‘on oublie alors trop souvent que la the´orie mallarme´enne s’est faite au travers d’une pratique poe´tique’’. 1999): 241–54. 1998) presents the ‘‘Notes en vue du ‘Livre’ ’’ in a slightly different foliation than shown in Scherer: see 547–626 and (for a diplomatic transcription) 945–1060. 491. 8. the new edition of Ste´phane Mallarme´. The literature that touches on Mallarme´’s Livre is of course vast. see for example Jill Anderson. Joshua Landy. ‘‘J’y essayais de mettre. Oeuvres comple`tes. no doubt there are important qualifications to this bias in his and many other contributions. 1. 1980). Malcolm Bowie (Manchester. 10. la versification) un jeu officiel ou soumis au rythme fixe’’. OC. Austin. ‘‘Toutefois la pre´caution parnassienne ne reste pas oiseuse: elle fournit le point de repe`re entre la refonte.’’ in his Essais sur Mallarme´. Lecture de Mallarme´ (Paris. 11. active. Lloyd J. ed. R. 7. quite exhaustive bibliography see Eric Benoit’s book-length study Mallarme´ et le Myste`re du ‘‘Livre’’ (Paris. Minahen. 1985). vol. 285. ‘‘Music. Benoit generally exemplifies the metaphysical slant of the existing literature. ‘‘Crise de Vers. As Bertrand Marchal once suggested. The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 115 . mesure´e par les feuillets’’.’’ in Bertrand Marchal and Jean-Luc Steinmetz. 1945) (hereafter OC ). in OC. eds. Chisholm. Instrument Spirituel. for example. 1995). 1998). For ‘‘fingering’’ (‘‘doigte´’’). Noulet.’’ Australian Journal of French Studies 25.’’ and ‘‘L’Apre`s-midi d’un faune: essai d’explication. a` coˆte´ de l’alexandrin dans toute sa tenue. Emile Benveniste. comme qui dirait d’un accompagnement musical fait par le poe`te lui-meˆme’’.

des plus obscures aussi. Derrida focuses primarily on Mallarme´’s criticism. See C. and le Livre. Ge´rard Genette. ‘‘Comme Diderot. E´tude sur Virgile (Paris. Palimpsestes (Paris. I have found most illuminating two books by Paul Alpers. Renato Poggioli. 116 Unfolding Mallarme´: The Development of a Poetic Art (Oxford. Virginity (the white page. Sainte-Beuve’s basic point. 1972). 301–2. Mallarme´ a donc e´te´ un grand parleur et. Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve. 75 (15 July 1896): 69. For ‘‘ton de la conversation comme limite supreˆme’’ see the unpublished ‘‘Notes’’ on literature written in 1869. 18. 1977). ‘‘The´ocrite. Scherer. 14. for ‘‘l’intimite´ meˆme de la race. 913.’’ in Quant au Livre. and he wrote in a letter to his friend Henri Cazalis of his difficulty adapting his vers to the drama. et sa clarte´. Stephen Walker. for the whole history of the various versions up to the 1876 edition. 1448–66. le proble`me des rapports entre parle´ et l’e´crit est fondamental pour la compre´hension de son oeuvre. ed. Ibid. Unfolding Mallarme´. 386–87. rev. 20.’’ PMLA 93 (1978): 106–17. Mallarme´’s Divagations: A Guide and Commentary (New York. ‘‘Contre l’obscurite´. The Virgil-Theocritus relationship is central to all discussions of the pastoral tradition. 19. see the chapters ‘‘La Double Se´ance’’ and ‘‘La Disse´mination’’ in La Disse´mination (Paris. 15. 13. The Oaten Flute: Essays on Pastoral Poetry and the Pastoral Ideal (Cambridge. 24.’’ in OC.. in OC. 66. 106. 25. The dichotomy is stated for the faun poem on 123. comme pour Diderot. en sa fleur. 1981). 492. Le ‘‘Livre. Pearson. Cohn’s translation gives a good sense of the extraordinary difficulty of the passage: ‘‘To apply one’s own ingenuousness to the whiteness (ingenuousness) which inaugurates it (the page). 21. A. 22. in OC. It is ironic that this response to a charge of ‘‘obscurity’’ is itself so syntactically refracted as to defy adequate translation. for poetry as ‘‘le type le plus juste du parler propre a` une e´poque’’ see Les Mots Anglais. Grammaire de Mallarme´ (Paris. 108–36. according to the page (itself. that Theocritus’s rustic dialecte dorien permits his poetry to represent nature with a directness and fullness lost to subsequent generations. both nuptial proof of Idea’’. le parler’’ see ‘‘Villiers de l’Isle Adam. see OC. in tune with its originally white purity) . et une parole qui a frappe´ tous ses auditeurs par son caracte`re direct. Pearson. 1996). no. . Jacques Scherer. . Mallarme´ first conceived the poem in 1865 as a verse drama on the model of The´odore de Banville’s Diane au bois.’’ La Revue Blanche 11. Marcel Proust. 261. 1990).’’ in his Portraits litte´raires. 852. Dans cette confrontation l’avantage revient incontestablement au parle´’’. For Jacques Derrida’s most important engagements with Mallarme´. 1975). 1857). ‘‘Mallarme´’s Symbolist Eclogue: The ‘Faune’ as Pastoral. ‘‘La me´taphysique du livre entraıˆne ne´cessairement une physique du livre qui l’exprime’’..’’ 24. no. and What Is Pastoral? (Chicago. ‘‘Le Myste`re dans les Lettres. 78 (1 September 1896): 214. is a common trope. 1996). Unfolding Mallarme´. La relation n’est pas aise´e a` saisir entre une e´criture des plus sobres et des plus retenues. rather than the verse. 116. The essay originally appeared in La Revue Blanche 11. Un coup de de´s. 16. 23. 283–311. Robert Greer Cohn. before a transparency of the adequate (pure) look. 100. (Paris. in OC. 1979). 17. the pure originary self ) which solitarily.12. bien que subtil. The Singer of the Eclogues: A Study of Virgilian Pastoral (Berkeley. Mass. Sainte-Beuve. 1862). itself has as if divided itself into fragments of candor. R            . the methodological statement appears on 79.

pages 163–66. and love-knot)’’. . d’une manie`re plus ge´ne´rale. see Marchal. mais apre`s tout myste´rieuse. Paul Vale´ry. I owe this observation to Pearson. ‘‘E´talages.. This reflects an ambiguity in the Derenne edition: the last seven lines appear on a folio of their own. ed. 1950). commence. the details of presentation (including the blanks and line-breaks that appear within sections) will reproduce this edition—though I include Mallarme´’s 1887 emendation to line 47 (‘‘dans un solo long’’ for ‘‘en un long solo’’).’’ in OC 380. In my reading. given in the section ‘‘Feuillets du ‘Livre’ sans rapport direct avec le Livre. in OC. 36. significatif silence qu’il n’est pas moins beau de composer que les vers’’.’’ in Quant au Livre. Singer of the Eclogues. 33.’’ or fold. 375. 59. see OC2. ‘‘Deux demi-feuilles syme´triques peuvent servir a` ‘amener de´ja` la rime en e´cho de deux vers’ . 40. noose. Toward the Poems of Mallarme´. que la rime e´tablit entre deux mots’’. 86. Ecrits divers sur Ste´phane Mallarme´ (Paris. ou` des the`mes s’entrecroisent avec un art prodigieux. 16–17. 264. The OC2. Translation of Theocritus taken from The Poems of Theocritus. 72. 38. Translations from Alpers. de`s une phrase’’. Cohn. 37. punctuation. it is unclear whether a blank is intended after the previous text. who writes of the ‘‘textual weavings of the ‘amorous’ Faune (taking ‘‘lacs’’ in its senses of knotted cord. 39. For the Improvisation d’un faune.’’ 59. Neither this blank nor that between lines 7 and 8 are consistent in all editions.. . 129. ‘‘La fabrication du livre. ‘‘Le Livre. Translation adapted from Alpers. une re´sonance avec le contenu de l’autre qui soit comparable a` la relation sonore. Sainte-Beuve. before my last ‘‘folio’’). toutes les ressources de la poe´tique s’emploient a` soutenir un triple de´ve´loppement d’images et d’ide´es. treated by Scherer as f 2[suite] of the Book itself. soit que des vers riment effectivement d’un feuillet a` l’autre. as well as on the details of the language. 127. 27.’’ lines 50–51. en l’ensemble qui s’e´panouira. Unfolding Mallarme´.’’ in OC2. Virgil trans. 31. John Milton’s ‘‘Lycidas. Une extreˆme sensualite´. ordonnateur du jeu des pages. 160–62. 28. 1978). Le ‘‘Livre. ‘‘L’armature intellectuelle du poe`me se dissimule et—a lieu—tient dans l’espace qui isole les strophes et parmi le blanc du papier. Singer of the Eclogues. soit que le contenu d’un feuillet ait. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg (Ox- The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 117 . and proportion. reprints the ‘‘Edition de 1876’’ without the blank between lines 103 and 104 (that is. 27 and 37.C.’’ see Jean-Michel Nectoux.26. 34. Etude sur Virgile. from the draft of a letter found amongst the Livre sketches. For some further thoughts on the importance of the faun’s invocation of ‘‘peinture’’ as well as speech. Singer of the Eclogues. ibid. 35. dispensateur. 1989). ‘‘Le Vers. 11. Instrument Spirituel. 30–31. Scherer. For a facsimile of the 1876 Derenne edition showing the blank spaces between strophes that determine my ‘‘foliation. 29. . trans. 32. 30. 30. une extreˆme musicalite´ s’entremeˆlent ou s’opposent dans cet ouvrage extraordinaire’’. Anna Rist (Chapel Hill. My understanding of the form depends not only on the blanks but also on issues of grammar. maıˆtre du livre’’. une extreˆme intellectualite´. 623. Lecture de Mallarme´. from Alpers. in John Milton. Ninjinsky: Pre´lude a` l’apre`s-midi d’un faune (Paris. Pearson makes the nice point that the word ‘‘sein’’ at this point in the poem derives etymologically from ‘‘sinus. Both the attribution of ‘‘murmure’’ to the flute and the phrase ‘‘de ma rumeur fier’’ are new to the 1876 version of the poem. N. with its immediate ancestry in Charles Baudelaire. ‘‘Le poe`me est devenu une sorte de fugue litte´raire. discusses this aspect of Mallarme´’s symbolic repertoire.

In succeeding centuries [it] never lost the close connections thus established to hymnody. comme un vol recueilli mais preˆt a` s’e´largir. devrait presenter un sens et une suite’’. concourt cette extraordinaire. F. the octosyllable. directement. 58–59. mobiles. qui ne bougerait pas et servirait en quelque sorte de couverture au cahier. ibid. 48. 380. ibid. 42. and the response by Jeffrey Kittay. the ‘‘pointless’’ format). and (esp. On pourra ainsi les changer de place. a` tout litte´rairement aboli’’. F. For a sense of the historical and critical complexity attendant upon this association. a` l’inte´rieur viendraient se placer des feuillets simples. A similar point is made about the ‘‘Ouverture ancienne’’ of He´rodiade in one of the only truly rigorous formal analyses of Mallarme´ I know: Jean-Pierre Chausserie-Lapre´e. Instrument spirituel. ‘‘Le Livre. V. 49. les feuillets intercalaires et la dernie`re feuille.. Brogan and Clive Scott. 40.’’ f191 (OC2. et les lire. ‘‘Rethinking Old French Literature: The Orality of the Octosyllabic Couplet. Cohn finds in these writings on the journal. I wonder if this poem’s ‘‘concentric organization’’ (as Chausserie-Lapre´e puts it) might be better understood as a projection into textual structure of its own primary theme of mirroring. diffe´rents et pourtant interchangeables. in fact. According to T.41. 4 (1986): 307– 21. Scherer.’’ in Alex Preminger and T. chaque ensemble constitue´ par la premie`re feuille. ‘‘Les livres ordinaires sont broche´s. This dissonance. no. ‘‘the oldest [verse form] in French. 379. expansion totale de la lettre. ‘‘Octosyllable. The passage is actually comparing the journal or feuilleton unfavorably to the Book. et Mallarme´ entendait bien que les feuillets en fussent mobiles. The word is Erwin Panofsky’s: ‘‘In Virgil’s ideal Arcady human suffering and superhumanly perfect surroundings create a dissonance. mais selon plusieurs ordres distinct de´termine´s par les lois de la permutation’’. as in the late medieval ballads. 1991). in spite of their negative overtones (e. 3 (1987): 291–98. Le Livre ne sera pas oblige´ de se tenir a` cette suje´tion. pre´cieux et des signes e´vocatoires succe`dent.g. in couplets) to narrative’’ (854). 44. ‘‘Un sche´ma auquel Mallarme´ semble avoir pense´e serait le suivant: la premie`re et la dernie`re feuille d’un cahier seraient e´crites sur un meˆme feuillet double plie´. V.’’ Romanic Review 78. le silence y demeure. bien entendu. pour l’esprit. Translation adapted from Cohn. intervention du pliage ou le rythme..’’ in OC. non certes dans un ordre quelconque.’ ’’ Europe 54 (April–May 1976): 74– 103. 619). 43. see Evelyn Birge Vitz. and orality. 45. makes use of both models: ‘‘Where were ye nymphs when the remorseless deep / Closed o’er the head of your loved Lycidas?’’ Alpers. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Princeton.’’ But he does not. 46. song. I similarly find resonances in the faun’s virtual ‘‘feuilleton’’ that seem to justify reading through Mallarme´’s critical tone regarding the popular press. oiseux: et vainement. of poetry of the oral tradition. qu’indique leur nume´rotation. ‘‘On Octo. The association of the pages of the book with wings recurs many times in the criticism. ‘‘le volume. eds. some clear echoes of the accomplishments of Un coup de de´s. had to be R            . 118 ford. contienne un secret.’’ Romanic Review 77. Chausserie-Lapre´e concludes his extraordinarily detailed analysis by asserting that ‘‘on comprend mieux aussi cette fascination que le Livre exerce sur lui tout au long de son existence: l’Oeuvre est de´ja` fait tout entie`re dans l’Ouverture. c’est-a`-dire que leurs pages se suivent dans un ordre fixe. ‘‘L’architecture secre`te de l’ ‘Ouverture ancienne. 47. 280.. What Is Pastoral? 229. mobile—de mort il devient vie’’. ‘‘Jusqu’au format. Instrument spirituel.’’ is ‘‘the staple meter of folk verse. no. ‘‘Le Livre. whether or not this can be done. initiale cause qu’une feuille ferme´e.’’ in OC. Le ‘‘Livre. devient par ce jeu. Brogan. Mallarme´’s Divagations. ‘‘Le livre. une mobilite´’’. derive a virtual foliation from his analysis. 1993). malgre´ l’impression fixe. once felt. 59. doit d’elle tirer..

Correspondance.. 2 (1871– 1885). ils s’allument de reflets re´ciproques comme une virtuelle traıˆne´e de feu sur des pierreries. on reconstitue a` la fois l’unite´ et le sens de la cre´ation mallarme´enne . in Mallarme´.’’ appear in the famous autobiographical letter to Verlaine of 16 November 1885. 61. as regards the faun poem. celle sur le contenu est a` peine esquisse´e’’. Comme dans le Faune encore. 41. See esp. Scherer. Pearson. 55.. ‘‘La` re´flexion sur la structure s’est pousse´e tre`s loin. ‘‘Subjectivity in Language. 220. Scherer refers to ff16–26 as ‘‘Le fragment du manuscript le plus important qui e´labore un contenu. 301. 62. Emile Benveniste.. Ibid. Mallarme´’s Divine Transposition: Real and Apparent Sources of Literary Value (Oxford. 63.’’ 84. 51. et non un recueil des inspirations de hasard. remplac¸ant la respiration perceptible en l’ancien souffle lyrique et la direction personnelle enthousiaste de la phrase’’. le narrateur du fragment tend son attention vers les deux femmes. see for example 120. ‘‘Recent Trends in General Linguistics. Le ‘‘Livre. ‘‘The Nature of Pronouns. . 58. L’ensemble de ces trois personnages e´voque d’autant plus le Faune et les deux nymphes de L’apre`s-midi que la sce`ne. 217–22. 132 (for Scherer’s ff16–26. and it was resolved in that vespertinal mixture of sadness and tranquillity which is perhaps Virgil’s most personal contribution to poetry. et celles-ci ne sont attentives que l’une a` l’autre’’. ‘‘L’oeuvre pure implique la disparition e´locutoire du poe`te. This mimetic or representational emphasis recurs throughout Pearson’s book. 1955). Dayan earlier distinguishes Mallarme´’s aesthetic motivations from.50. see OC2.’’ in Problems in General Linguistics 3–15. 366. 300. et qu’elle s’accompagne d’arrie`re-pense´es a` la fois me´taphysiques et sensuelles. s’explique et s’oriente par le Livre que en est l’aboutissement.’’ in ibid.. Le ‘‘Livre. Trans. 57. 552–55). Both phrases. Peter Dayan. 182–87. from Alpers. 142. Emile Benveniste.. . 60.’’ in ibid. 56. he´site entre plan de la re´alite´. ici comme la`. celui du souvenir et cului de l’imaginaire. 59. 52. Ibid. ibid. Les sommets de l’oeuvre publie´e sont baigne´s dans une lumie`re e´trange dont le Livre dernier et inacheve´ est l’origine invisible’’. 53. resolved. ‘‘ ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’: Poussin and the Elegiac Tradition. . ‘‘Si l’on admet que l’oeuvre entie`re de Mallarme´. Derrida’s theoretical interests.’’ in Meaning in the Visual Arts (New York. 1986). Emile Benveniste. Singer of the Eclogues. 54. 223–30.’’ 125. . see 146–48. With only slight exaggeration one might say that he ‘discovered’ the evening’’. tout au moins depuis 1866. Unfolding Mallarme´. The Formal Rhythms of Mallarme´’s Faun 119 . 225. par le heurt de leur ine´galite´ mobilise´s. ‘‘l’explication orphique de la Terre’’ and ‘‘architectural et pre´me´dite´. . vol. 14.’’ and emphasizes the theatrical and poetic richness of this instance of a ‘‘the`me d’appel’’: ‘‘Un narrateur qui parle a` la premie`re personne est confronte´ avec deux femmes. for example. 36. Scherer. qui ce`de l’initiative aux mots. OC.