- By R. Howard Bloch

One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern

  • Title: One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern
  • Author: R. Howard Bloch
  • ISBN: 9780871406637
  • Page: 157
  • Format: Hardcover
  • One Toss of the Dice The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern It was improbably the forerunner of our digital age a French poem about a shipwreck published in that with its mind bending possibilities of being read up and down backward and forward even

    It was, improbably, the forerunner of our digital age a French poem about a shipwreck published in 1897 that, with its mind bending possibilities of being read up and down, backward and forward, even sideways, launched modernism St phane Mallarm s One Toss of the Dice, a daring, twenty page epic of ruin and recovery, provided an epochal tipping point, defining the sIt was, improbably, the forerunner of our digital age a French poem about a shipwreck published in 1897 that, with its mind bending possibilities of being read up and down, backward and forward, even sideways, launched modernism St phane Mallarm s One Toss of the Dice, a daring, twenty page epic of ruin and recovery, provided an epochal tipping point, defining the spirit of the age and anticipating radical thinkers of the twentieth century, from Albert Einstein to T S Eliot.Celebrating its intrinsic influence on our culture, renowned scholar R Howard Bloch masterfully decodes the poem still considered among the most enigmatic ever written In Bloch s shimmering portrait of Belle poque Paris, Mallarm stands as the spiritual giant of the era, gathering around him every Tuesday a luminous cast of characters including mile Zola, Victor Hugo, Claude Monet, Andr Gide, Claude Debussy, Oscar Wilde, and even the future French prime minister Georges Clemenceau A simple schoolteacher whose salons and prodigious literary talent won him the adoration of Paris s elite, Mallarm achieved the reputation of France s greatest living poet He was so beloved that mourners crowded along the Seine for his funeral in 1898, many refusing to depart until late into the night, leaving Auguste Renoir to ponder, How long will it take for nature to make another such a mind Over a century later, the allure of Mallarm s linguistic feat continues to ignite the imaginations of the world s greatest thinkers Featuring a new, authoritative translation of the French poem by J D McClatchy, One Toss of the Dice reveals how a literary masterpiece launched the modernist movement, contributed to the rise of pop art, influenced modern Web design, and shaped the perceptual world we now inhabit And as Alex Ross remarks in The New Yorker, If you can crack Mallarm s poems, it seems, you can crack the riddles of existence In One Toss of the Dice, Bloch finally, and brilliantly, dissects one of literary history s greatest mysteries to reveal how a poem made us modern.

    1 thought on “One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern

    1. Bloch's book, partly a biography of poet Stephane Mallarme, and partly a cultural biography of the social and civil disruptions that spawned 20th Century art's break from traditional forms, is a good rendering of the changes that affected writing, music, visual and performing art, and even scientific thought.And Mallarme's poem, "One Toss of the Dice", is certainly an interesting work, as well as a break with tradition. But I think it's an exaggeration to give it so much importance as a catalyst [...]

    2. A really great history of the composition of the poem by Mallarme, who I didn't know very much about at all. There's a great deal of love in Bloch's tracing of Mallarme's circle of friends and inspirations, and a lot of work went into the amazing chronicle of the poet's daily life and activities from year to year. This is where the book really shines. Then, strangely, we get an attempted reproduction of this very visual work, in English, in the middle of the book, followed by a French attempt. T [...]

    3. The more biographical pages leading up to the new translation of the poem are especially good. I’m not nuts about literary criticism, so I enjoyed the analysis of the poem less. The poem itself, in English translation, then French original, are of course the center of the book. Now I will move on to read more Mallarme.

    4. Bloch, a French professor at Yale, writes about the life of French poet Stéphane Mallarmé and his 1897 transformative, "deeply optical" poem, “One Toss of the Dice Never Will Abolish Chance,” which (according to Bloch) "made us modern." The books provides a good overview of Mallarmé’s life and the artistic environment in which he worked. The attempt to explicate the poem itself is also interesting. However, Block is less persuasive when he claims that Mallarmé’s poem led to modernist [...]

    5. A highly enjoyable biography of a French poet whose poem "One Toss of the Dice," changed prosody, and some claim ushered in modernity. R. Howard Bloch examination of the twenty-page poem (published in its entirety in this book in both English and French), which was published in 1897 to the western Europe's Le Belle Epoque, and the world, does an outstanding job of bringing poet Stephane Mallarme to life, but his claim that Mallarme's poem ushered in modernity -- all of it -- isn't well evidenced [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *