Fragments - Anatole’s Tomb.

Mallarmé, Stéphane (1842–1898), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Mallarmé’s second child, Anatole, born July 1871, became seriously ill when he was seven years old. He suffered from rheumatic fever complicated by an enlarged heart, and died in October 1879, aged eight. Mallarmé left a series of fragments for a four-part poetic memorial, a ‘tomb’. He was emotionally and artistically unable to forge a finished work from them. Despite existing in fragments, the pieces communicate some part of the loss suffered, and the thoughts engendered, by the child’s death, and therefore any child’s death, any such tragedy. Mallarmé’s spiritual position is taken to be atheistic, and therefore religious assumptions should not be made in interpreting these fragments. The content is however universal enough, I think, for a reader of any spiritual persuasion to respond in their own manner, within their own belief system.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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