Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) was a French poet whose diverse works are considered precursors to key radical tendencies in 20th-century poetry and theory. He held salons in Paris whose regular visitors included W.B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Paul Verlaine, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and many others. At the time of his death, Mallarmé was correcting proofs for the Vollard edition of Un Coup de Dés (A Roll of the Dice), which was to be the work’s first publication in book form, illustrated by Odilon Redon and printed by Firmin-Didot; the project was abandoned shortly after the poet’s death. Jeff Clark and Robert Bonnono's translation of A Roll of the Dice was published by Wave in 2015.
It seemed to me that I was looking at the form and pattern of a thought, placed for the first time in finite space.
—Paul Valéry on “Un coup de dés” [“A Roll of the Dice”]
A Throw of the Dice stands as the single most striking precedent for avant-garde experiment with the visual form of poetic language.
Mallarmé is at the source of modern art...He unwittingly invented modern space.
For Mallarmé, poetry is more than words on a page; it is at the center of what it means to be human.
A Mallarmé poem is typically a soufflé of synaesthetic delights.
—David Wheatley, The Guardian
Reviews of books by Stéphane Mallarmé
A Roll of the Dice