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Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’abolira le Hasard

Stéphane Mallarmé
NRF; Paris, France
2006 [1914]
ISBN: 2-07-073649-0

This is a facsimile copy of the original 1914 publication. The Poème essentially states that ‘a throw of dice cannot abolish chance’. There are long pauses between each word or each sentence and this is important as it creates a tempo in which one must read the text carefully and meaningfully. The spaces create silences which must be acknowledged (Poetry in translation 2007:[SP]). The print emphasises the pace in which the text must be read by the clustering of words or the spaces between them.

Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés liberated written language (text) from its linear restrictions and paved the way for the integration of text and image in 20th- and 21st-century artists’ books. It was followed by numerous avant-garde, Futurist, Constructivist and Suprematist attempts to transgress linear typographic conventions, such as Filippo Tomasso Marinetti’s concrete sound poem Zang Tumb Tuuum (1914), Lazar El Lissitzky’s illustrations for Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poem Dlya Golosa [For the Voice] (1923) and the Calligrammes of the French DADA poet, playwright and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. By the early 1920s, avant-garde typographic experimentation and the transgression of the conventions of design and layout became institutionalised in the German Bauhaus School in Weimar (Drucker 1995:58) and beyond.

Poetry in translation 2007 [O]. Available: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/French/MallarmeUnCoupdeDes.htm

Drucker, J. 1995. The Century of Artists’ Books. New York, Granary Press

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