In this concise and illuminating study, Jacques Rancire, one of the world's most popular and influential living philosophers, examines the life and work of the celebrated nineteenth-century French poet and critic, Stphane Mallarm.Ranciere presents Mallarm as neither an aesthete in need of rare essences and unheard-of words, nor the silent and nocturnal thinker of some poem too pure to be written. Mallarm is the contemporary of a republic that is seeking out forms of civic worship to replace the pomp of religions and kings. If his writing is difficult, it is because it complies with a demanding and delicate poetics that is itself responding to an exceptional awareness of the complexity of an historical moment as well as the role that poetry ought to play in it.

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