Rosemary Lloyd is Rudy Professor of French and Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. She is the author, editor, and translator of several books, including Shimmering in a Transformed Light: Writing the Still Life, Baudelaire's World, and Closer and Closer Apart: Jealousy in Literature, all from Cornell.
More a book about the poet and his correspondents than his immediate literary circle, this study focuses on how Mallarme (1842-1898) used his letters to try out ideas and lines. Lloyd, an Indiana Univ. professor of French and Italian, edited Mallarm‚'s selected letters in 1988, and contextualizes the letters she analyzes here with the major events in the poet's life. As the book develops, and Mallarme escapes uncongenial teaching in the provinces and settles in Paris, Lloyd deals more with his relationships in the flesh, largely through his Tuesday at-homes (his Mardis) where intellectuals gathered and exchanged literary, artistic and even musical gossip. Among his friends were Manet, Debussy, Whistler and Degas, along with his poetic muse, Mery Laurent. (Lloyd unconvincingly speculates at length as to the exact nature of their relationship, and elsewhere apologizes for Mallarme's seeming indifference to Zola's fate during Zola's "J'accuse" trial.) While not a replacement for Gordon Millan's 1994 biography (or the untranslated Henri Mondor life), or for the letters themselves, the book places Mallarme within the blazing late-19th-century Parisian artistic ferment and offers credible looks at the origins of his endlessly complicated and beautiful work. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"Throughout her book Lloyd segues gracefully from the poet's life and milieu to his poems, always matched with her first-rate translations and subtle explications. While insisting on the everyday simplicity of Mallarme's symbols (mirrors, sunsets, vases) she never tries to explain away the poems' irreducible complexity. This is biographical criticism of the highest order; it is also an absorbing portrait of a dazzling subculture."-Chase Madar, Times Literary Supplement, 22 December 2000 "The book places Mallarme within the blazing late-19th-century Parisian artistic ferment and offers credible looks at the origins of his endlessly complicated and beautiful work."-Publishers Weekly, 6 December 1999 "This articulate literary biography ... sheds new and important light on Mallarme's own poems and essays ... An important addition to large public as well as scholarly collections ... this volume will be a sine qua non for any library supporting serious study in poetry, art, and music of late 19th-century France. Endnotes, a substantial bibliography, a useful index, and excellent print, paper, and binding add to the book's value."-Choice, June 2000 "An extremely thoughtful and well-documented new study, a book that sheds as much light on the cultural dynamics of the fin-de-siecle as it does on the aesthetics, ethics, and personality of Mallarme himself... In the end, Lloyd skillfully demonstrates that Mallarme's correspondence holds much hidden significance."-Pamela A. Genova, French Forum, Winter 2001 "Rosemary Lloyd's book stands out among recent publications on Mallarme for its readability and its intimate portrait of the poet in the context of his times."-Dorothy Betz, The European Legacy "Lloyd's richly insightful study focuses on the way Mallarme's correspondence with his friends and acquaintances (his circle) sheds light on the process of poetic composition... Lloyd's style is elegant rather than artful, and the erudition of the author, while understated, is apparent on every page."-Melanie Hawthorne, French Review "To encounter this remarkable study of Mallarme's life, character, and surroundings with a focus on a broad exchange of letters is to read, for once, from the inside out. At every turn, Rosemary Lloyd's lively and authoritative translations, her deep knowledge, and subtle grasp of what really matters-in a life and in a reading-make this book a triumph."-Mary Ann Caws, Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, Graduate School, City University of New York, editor of Stephane Mallarme, Selected Poetry and Prose "Taking the poet's correspondence as the focus of her study, Rosemary Lloyd brilliantly captures the savor of Mallarme. Her delightful, finely drawn portrait illuminates Mallarme's relationships with his many artist friends, from Zola to Redon."-James Lawler, University of Chicago "Unique among Mallarme's biographers (in French or in English), Rosemary Lloyd has articulated the intricate structure of his procedures as the true poet of reading-his and ours. Not only a formidable achievement, but a mandatory one, putting us richly in her debt, and happy to be there."-Richard Howard "Rosemary Lloyd's Mallarme occupies a peopled landscape rather than the desert of abstraction to which many recent critics have sought to confine him. But the remarkable thing about this book is that Lloyd's discussion of Mallarme's people-the crowd of artists and litterateurs with whom he had dealings-offers us new ways of reading his poems, essays, and letters at their most difficult and provocative. This is a landmark in the historical understanding of an incomparable writer."-Malcolm Bowie, Oxford University "Highly original in form and conception, Mallarme: The Poet and His Circle stands out from other biographies. Rosemary Lloyd demonstrates the central importance of the letters for Mallarme's aesthetic theory and practice, and their critical interest as a testing ground for the great experiments of Symbolism."-Jill Anderson, University of Melbourne
Although not a particularly prolific poetÄjudging by the body of his known and published workÄMallarm‚ had an immeasurable influence on poetry in the latter half of the 19th century and thereafter. Along with Andr‚ Gide, Paul Val‚ry, and Marcel Proust, he was associated with a group of writers who helped give shape to 20th-century French literature. In this authoritative and thoroughly researched literary biography, Lloyd (French and Italian, Indiana Univ.) presents a fairly comprehensive portrait of the poet, based on his own workÄwhich he left unfinished when he died in 1898Ähis correspondence, and a body of contemporary and later interpretations and criticism. She specifically considers letters between Mallarm‚ and his artist and poet friends and between him and total strangers. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries, especially those with collections of modern and French literatures.ÄAli Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.