Catalogue


Mallarmé's children : symbolism and the renewal of experience /
Richard Cándida Smith.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1999.
description
xxiv, 304 p. : ill.
ISBN
0520218280 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1999.
isbn
0520218280 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
3532801
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A critically important contribution to the debate of the last ten years over the nature and status of experience. . . CÁndida Smith's range of knowledge is extraordinarily broad."--Leora Auslander, University of Chicago
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-11-01:
Smith (also author of Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry and Politics in California, CH, Jul'95, among other works) opens this analysis of the influence of metaphysical beliefs on aesthetic practice with a discussion of Mallarme, his followers (e.g., Jean Moeras, Camille Mauclair, Jean Ajalbert), and the French view of his theories on the relationship of life and poetry. In part 2, the author analyzes symbolism against developments in contemporary psychology and philosophy, particularly William James's theories on experience, reason, and sensation and the new semantics of Michel Breal. Part 3 illustrates the effect of symbolism on young men pursuing careers in the arts in the US and France: Smith examines Max Eastman and Floyd Dell's bohemian attitudes toward free love, Marx's theories of free love and labor, Paul Signac's mural depicting socialist ideas, and anarchist Jean Grave's 1908 novel of libertarian socialism Malfaiteurs! (The Evil-doers). He moves this discussion of erotic power to novelist Rachilde before returning to Dell and Eastman to show how the combination of Marx, symbolism, and Freud directed their aesthetic theories about language. In part 4, Smith concludes that the once-subversive symbolists fit their new, reconfigured modern culture. Finally, Smith discusses Marcel Duchamp as a midcentury example of Mallarme's continuing influence. Upper-division undergraduates and graduates. J. C. Kohl; emeritus, Dutchess Community College
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2000
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Summaries
Main Description
Mallarme's Children reconstructs the intellectual and social circumstances that made symbolism an exceptionally powerful moment in modern cultural history.
Long Description
In a narrative gracefully combining intellectual and cultural history, Richard CÁndida Smith unfolds the legacy of StÉphane MallarmÉ (1842-1898), the poet who fathered the symbolist movement in poetry and art. The symbolists found themselves in the midst of the transition to a world in which new media devoured cultural products and delivered them to an ever-growing public. Their goal was to create and oversee a new elite culture, one that elevated poetry by removing it from a direct relationship to experience. Instead, symbolist poetry was dedicated to exploring discourse itself, and its practitioners to understanding how language shapes consciousness. CÁndida Smith investigates the intellectual context in which symbolists came to view artistic practice as a form of knowledge. He relates their work to psychology, especially the ideas of William James, and to language and the emergence of semantics. Through the lens of symbolism, he focuses on a variety of subjects: sexual liberation and the erotic, anarchism, utopianism, labor, and women's creative role. Paradoxically, the symbolists' reconfiguration of elite culture fit effectively into the modern commercial media. After MallarmÉ was rescued from obscurity, symbolism became a valuable commodity, exported by France to America and elsewhere in the market-driven turn-of-the-century world.MallarmÉ's Childrentraces not only how poets regarded their poetry and artists their art but also how the public learned to think in new ways about cultural work and to behave differently as a result.
Main Description
In a narrative gracefully combining intellectual and cultural history, Richard Cándida Smith unfolds the legacy of Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), the poet who fathered the symbolist movement in poetry and art. The symbolists found themselves in the midst of the transition to a world in which new media devoured cultural products and delivered them to an ever-growing public. Their goal was to create and oversee a new elite culture, one that elevated poetry by removing it from a direct relationship to experience. Instead, symbolist poetry was dedicated to exploring discourse itself, and its practitioners to understanding how language shapes consciousness. Cándida Smith investigates the intellectual context in which symbolists came to view artistic practice as a form of knowledge. He relates their work to psychology, especially the ideas of William James, and to language and the emergence of semantics. Through the lens of symbolism, he focuses on a variety of subjects: sexual liberation and the erotic, anarchism, utopianism, labor, and women's creative role. Paradoxically, the symbolists' reconfiguration of elite culture fit effectively into the modern commercial media. After Mallarmé was rescued from obscurity, symbolism became a valuable commodity, exported by France to America and elsewhere in the market-driven turn-of-the-century world. Mallarmé's Children traces not only how poets regarded their poetry and artists their art but also how the public learned to think in new ways about cultural work and to behave differently as a result.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Note on Translation
Introduction
The Symbolist Moment
Stephane Mallarme before the Publicp. 3
The Production of Symbolismp. 17
Apprentices and Washoutsp. 40
Crises of Opportunityp. 49
Moving toward an "Industrial Art"p. 67
Poetics and the Politics of "Experience"
Symbolism, Pragmatism, and the Synthetic Selfp. 77
Truth as Self-Representationp. 90
Poetry and the Translation of History into Truthp. 102
Eros, Labor, Poetry
Self-Representation as Metaphysicsp. 123
Representing Utopian Aspirationp. 134
American Synthesesp. 169
From Symbol to Design, from Harmony to Elegance
The Order of Things Hiddenp. 187
Vision and Language into the Gapp. 202
Working within the Dreamp. 226
Notesp. 253
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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