Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mallarme in Crisis

I was reading in a book and I came across an amazing quote by Mallarme from his Crisis in Verse. The quote is a really good description of the problem of language:

"Languages are imperfect because multiple; the supreme language is missing. Inasmuch as thought consists of writing without pen and paper, without whispering even, without the sound of the immortal World, the diversity of languages on earth means that no one can utter words which would bear the miraculous stamp of Truth Herself Incarnate... But esthetically, I am disappointed when I consider how impossible it is for language to express things by means of certain keys which would reproduce their brilliance and aura...We dream of words brilliant at once in meaning and sound, or darkening in meaning and so in sound, luminously and elementally self-succeeding. But let us remember that if our dream were fulfilled, verse would not exist - verse which, in all its wisdom, atones for the sins of languages, comes nobly to their aid."

I thought Mallarme did a beautiful job of illustrating the double edged sword that is language. Everyone we have read about has drawn attention to this problem - we need a language that gets beyond language itself. However if we arrive at that place we have also lost something. Werther arrived at that place only by death and Bloch arrived at that place by killing someone else. The works of art we have studied, or anything we have studied for that matter, are all desperate attempts to arrive at somewhere real without leaving our own reality. The problem is we cannot arrive at the real without the aid/hinderance of our actual reality - language.


Carmell said...

Ty, your synopsis was inspiring to me. Truly. I, not poetically at all, am at a loss for what more to express about it.

Scott Abbott said...

great quote. this ought to be helpful in class today as we work more on the throw of the dice.

The Jennie said...

I love this!