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Mallarmé's Igitur and the infinite at last fixed

Grant number: 06/04576-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2007
Effective date (End): October 31, 2010
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Modern Foreign Literatures
Principal Investigator:Philippe Leon Marie Ghislain Willemart
Grantee:Rosie Mehoudar
Home Institution: Reitoria (RUSP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/08942-0 - Brépols french-brasilian and other manuscripts, AP.TEM


The focus of this work will be a textual and genetic analysis of the final version and early drafts of Mallarmé’s Igitur, ou la folie d’Elbehnon, with an appreciation of the intrinsic logic of each initial outline and of the laws that seem to have guided their evolvement into the definite rendering. Such a method will elicit a better interpretation of this unfinished and, until now, practically undecipherable story.The starting point will be my doctoral dissertation, From the youthful texts to Igitur: the generation of discontinuity in Mallarmé. The thesis does not include analyses of the various drafts and manuscripts, a task that will now be undertaken. Well into the study, however, the story became rather more intelligible with the novel identification of many keywords belonging to Hermetic traditions – such as alchemy and heraldry - and to the cabala. These newly-discovered references, as well as signs of a coded intertextuality between Mallarmé’s text and major philosophical works, will be further studied in the postdoctorate.Igitur resembles a “subject founding” short-story-as-a-play. I will attempt to follow its acts and outline the ensuing vision of a dynamic thought structure (the link between word and idea, images and the void) that underlies the creation process.Concomitantly with Igitur, Mallarmé took down notes for the project of a thesis, De divinitate, that provide a theoretical articulation of subject and language. Together with the other research operations, the reading of these notes will contribute to reexamine and develop the interpretative hypotheses of Igitur that arose in the doctorate.