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Stéphane Mallarmé

1842 Sense (Paris)
1898 Valvins

The French author Stéphane Mallarmé, was born in Paris on 18th March 1842. Alongside Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91), and Charles-Pierre Baudelaire (1821–67), he is regarded as one of the most important pioneer of modern poetry, and the mentor and master of the symbolist school. Between 1858 and 1860, Stéphane Mallarmé composed his first poems, under the title "Entre quatre murs" (Between four walls). He met and befriended the poets Emanuel des Essarts (1839–1909), Jean Lahor and Eugène Lefébure (1838–1908). During this period, he studied Charles Baudelaire’s "Fleurs du mal". He also published his first article of literary criticism, and a number of poems in various journals.
In 1862, the author travelled to London accompanied by a German woman whom he married the following year. After returning to France, Stéphane Mallarmé was employed as an English teacher at a school in Tournon-Sur-Rhône. During this period, he had contact with Théodor Aubanel (1829–86), Joseph Roumanille (1818–91), Frédéric Mistral (1830–1914), Catulle Mendès (1841–1909) and Auguste Graf von Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (1838–89).
In 1864, whilst undergoing a personal and artistic crisis, Mallarmé began his life’s project, "Hérodiade", in which he thematised the search for the purity and beauty of poetry in an adaptation of the Biblical story of Salome. In 1865, he composed the poem "L’après-midi d’un faune", which was, however, rejected by the Théâtre Français. He then met the author Charles Marie René de Lisle (1818–94), and the poet José Maria de Heredia (1842–1905). In 1866, Stéphane Mallarmé moved to Besançon and began corresponding with the poet Paul Verlaine (1844–96). In the same year, he moved to Avignon, where he started publishing his prose poetry. In 1871, he slowly returned from the provinces to Paris. Mallarmé translated the work of Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49), amongst others.

In 1872, he met Rimbaud, and, spurred on by his friendship with the painter Édouard Manet (1832–83) developed a strong interest in impressionism. In 1876, he published his scenic mythological 110-verse epic poem "L’après-midi d’un faune", which was illustrated by Manet and printed as a book lover’s edition.
In 1877, Stéphane Mallarmé began holding his famous Tuesday meetings, the so-called "Mardis", inviting young poets such as Maurice Maeterlinck (1862–1949), Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848–1907), Paul Ambroise Valery (1871–1945) and Reiner Maria Rilke (1875–1926) to his apartment in the Rue de Rome. In 1886, Mallarmé published his first poem without punctuation, "M’introduire dans ton histoire".
During the following year, he published a few copies of a poetry anthology, and a book of mixed lyrical texts. In 1893, he published a last volume of texts. In 1894, the author moved to Vulains-sur-Seine at Fontainebleau, where he worked on various literary and theoretical projects. In 1896, he was made "prince des poètes." Mallarmé’s published poetic output during his lifetime remained small, due the writer’s own high expectations of himself.
Stéphane Mallarmé died in Vulaines-sur-Seine on 9th September 1898.

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