25 February 2013

Gauguin "Mallarme" 1861
Blanchot's observation on the ontology of Mallarmé's works relates to works both written and unwritten: "Mallarmé had the most profoundly tormented awareness of the particular nature of literary creation. The work of art reduces itself to being. That is the task: to be, to make present 'those very words: it is... there lies all the mystery." Mircea Eliade reflects: "Mallarmé declared that a modern poet must go beyond Homer, because the decadence of Western poetry began with him. And when the interviewer asked 'But what poetry existed before Homer?' Mallarmé responded, 'The Vedas!'" In 1880, Mallarmé noted regarding his translation of Cox's Mythology, which summarized Max Müller's Sanskrit translations and theories: "The change of seasons, the birth of nature in the spring, its summer plenitude, its death in autumn and its disappearance during winter (phases that correspond to sunrise, sunset and night), is the great and perpetual theme of Mythology, the double solar, daily and annual evolution, the tragedy of nature." Paz paraphrased Mallarmé's solar drama: "Will the sun come out again? .. Or does the hour of midnight point to be beginning of a darkness without shores or without time?" By the time of the Rig-Veda, Ratri, the goddess-guardian of night, had long been taking turns with her sister the dawn.

Robert Motherwell, Mallarme's Swan, 1944

Rancière wrote about the sonnet that contrasts the lowercase swan with the capitalized Swan (perhaps the constellation Cygnus) "..the great 'tragedy of nature'; born again with each dawn from the darkness in which it dies each evening. As with nature, this tragedy has had its time, which is that of the first autumn. The poet who does not bear this in mind is like the swan, its captive wing stuck in the ice sheets of winter.. That is the mystery that succeeds tragedy: the great metaphor of the Idea-sun, buried in waters and darkness, is shattered into a multiplicity of schemas of disappearing.." Piri' Miri Muli' can't actually certify that the lowercase swan could get his wing out of the ice by conjuring Mallarmé's vision of the first autumn, as winter weather brought him precarious health '..I shall die or I shall survive.. I am descending earthwards from the Absolute..': Homer noted how Northern European swans sang just before they froze; in milder climes, the Nicaraguan Dario's capital S Swan sings the dawn instead of death at the precise moment it becomes Wagnerian, before the hill-dwelling González Martínez returned to the Mallarméan owl, which would seem to dream of swans all night. Mallarmé's Swan sonnet is used in the first improvisation of Boulez' Fold Upon Fold, a phrase* that Mallarmé used to describe the fog in Bruges:

Badiou uses 'schemas of disappearing' to interpret the "Ses purs ongles très haut…" sonnet in which "the sun-event, that is, the mirror" reveals "unicorns lashing a nymph with a flame" and then "disappears" to "create a sort of.. 'ban' of the subtractive." The poet also disappears, as Mallarmé writes "The right to accomplish anything exceptional, or beyond the reach of the vulgar, is paid for by the omission of the doer, and by his death as so-and-so." Paz calls the first stanza the death of nature, the second the death of consciousness, and the third, the mirage of the unicorn burning the nymph, the erotic. "Midnight.. is anguish.. Anguish is not psychological: it is a phase of the solar rite."

* Deleuze: "The fold is probably Mallarmé's most important notion.. the fold of the world is.. the open fan (which) makes all particles of matter, ashes, and fog rise and fall. We glimpse the visible through the mist as if through the mesh of a veil, following the creases that allow us to see stone in the opening of their inflections.."

No comments: