[A Tomb for Anatole] is one of the most moving accounts of a man trying to come to grips with modern death – that is to say, death without God, death without hope of salvation – and it reveals the secret meaning of Mallarmé’s whole aesthetic: the elevation of art to the stature of religion.

—Paul Auster

A Tomb for Anatole addresses inconsolable sorrow: a father’s pain over the death of his child, a vision / endlessly purified / by my tears.

A Tomb For Anatole

Poetry by Stéphane Mallarmé

Translated by Paul Auster

The great French Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), who changed the course of modern French literature, suffered many tragedies, but the cruelest blow of all struck in 1879, when his beloved son Anatole died at the age of eight. His unbearable grief inspired him to attempt a major work. A Tomb for Anatole presents the 202 fragments of Mallarmé’s projected long poem in four parts, by far the poet’s most personal work, and one he could never bring himself to complete. To speak publicly of his immense sorrow, Mallarmé concluded, “for me, it’s not possible.” Paul Auster notes in his excellent introduction that facing “the ultimate horror of every parent,” these fragments “have a startling, unmediated quality.” Unpublished in France until 1961, this work is very far from the oblique, cool “pure poetry” Mallarmé is famous for, poetry that sought to capture––painstakingly––l’absente de tous bouquets (the ideal flower absent from all bouquets). The fragments of A Tomb for Anatole instead show Mallarmé at his most radical and fierce. “For here we find a language,” Paul Auster comments, “of immediate contact, a syntax of abrupt, lightning shifts… so densely charged that these tiny particles of language… somehow leap out of themselves and catch hold of the succeeding cliff-edge of thought.”

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published June 1, 2005)

ISBN
9780811215930
Price US
16.95
Price CN
24
Trim Size
6x9
Page Count
228

Stéphane Mallarmé

French Symbolist Poet

[A Tomb for Anatole] is one of the most moving accounts of a man trying to come to grips with modern death – that is to say, death without God, death without hope of salvation – and it reveals the secret meaning of Mallarmé’s whole aesthetic: the elevation of art to the stature of religion.

—Paul Auster