Stéphane Mallarmé

Stéphane Mallarmé was born in Paris on 18th March 1842, the son of Numa Mallarmé (1805-1863) and Élisabeth Desmolins (1819-1847). He had one sister, Maria (1844-1857). After a short spell in the Registry Office at Sens, he trained as a teacher of English, working at schools in Tournon, Besançon and Avbignon before settling in Paris in 1871. He married Maria Gerhard (1835-1910) in 1863, and they had two children, Geneviève (1864-1919) and Anatole (1871-1879). He retired from teaching in 1893, and died, at Valvins (now Vulaines-sur-Seine), on 9th September 1898. His books include Poésies (limited “photolithographic” edition 1887, trade edition 1899), the prose book Divagations (1897), school textbooks on the English language (Les Mots anglais, 1878) and on mythology (Les Dieux antiques, 1879), and a French translation of the poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1888). He wrote widely on contemporary literature, visual art and theatre, and briefly became the editor of (and main contributor to) a fashion magazine, La Dernière mode (1874). His groundbreaking visual poem, ‘Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard’ (“A throw of the Dice never will abolish Chance”), was published in the journal Cosmopolis in 1897, and in book form in 1914. Works published posthumously include the prose tale Igitur (1925) and the surviving notes towards three unfinished projects: Le Livre (“The Book”, 1957), Les Noces d’Hérodiade (“The Marrying of Hérodiade”, 1959) and Pour un Tombeau d’Anatole (“For Anatole’s Tomb”, 1961).