A free 1-day event in September. Free Registration Required.
Mallarmé Resolved: The Supreme Reading of Un Coup de dés, in Three Lectures
Justin Clemens, Robert Boncardo, Christian R. Gelder
9.45am – 4pm. Friday 21 Sep, 2018
University of Melbourne Law School: Lecture theatre G08
All Welcome. Free Registration Required.
In the aftermath of a violent storm, a ship’s master — sole survivor of his vessel’s shipwreck — raises his fist above the waves in an ultimate gesture of defiance. In his hand are two dice, which he hesitates to throw into the roiling waters. The sea finally overwhelms him, dragging the dice down with him. Yet in the now-cloudless sky there appears a constellation numbering seven stars: a successful stellar throw of the dice, celestial sublation of the master’s failed throw.
Such is the ‘narrative’ of Stéphane Mallarmé’s Un Coup de dés, one of — if not the — greatest works of poetic modernity. The master’s two dice stand for two lines of verse, with a perfect throw representing rhyme: the abolition of language’s contingency. If the master hesitates to throw them, it’s because there’s no longer any guarantee in modernity that poetry can overcome chance: the master’s death seals our fate. But what, then, does the constellation represent? The advent of a new poetry? Of poetry as a pure ideality? Of an impersonal, inhuman poetry?
In these three lectures, we will present our ongoing work on Mallarmé’s masterwork — work that attempts to respond to these questions through a close interrogation of the poem and an engagement with its critical heritage. Each lecture will be focused on one aspect of the poem’s significance, from its simultaneous destruction and recomposition of poetics, to its engagement with science, to its entanglement with politics. Overall, the lecture series will respond to the question of what poetry can be in a world without transcendent guarantees.
10am: Justin Clemens, 'A New Poetics? The Renewal of Metre in Un Coup de dés'
12noon Christian R. Gelder, 'Mallarmé, Mathematics and Science: Framing the Problem'
2.30pm: Robert Boncardo, 'A New Eucharist: The Community-to-Come of Un Coup de dés'