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Wilson, E., Jr. (1984). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIV, 1980: The Paths of Creation in the Work of Stéphane Mallarmé. Henri Vermorel. Pp. 65-97. Psychoanal Q., 53:642-643.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIV, 1980: The Paths of Creation in the Work of Stéphane Mallarmé. Henri Vermorel. Pp. 65-97

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:642-643

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIV, 1980: The Paths of Creation in the Work of Stéphane Mallarmé. Henri Vermorel. Pp. 65-97

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

One of the fundamental themes in Mallarmé's work, according to Vermorel, is the idealization of the poet's mother, whom he lost when he was five years old, and of his sister, whom he lost when he was fifteen. Though there were other losses, especially the death of his young son, Anatole, in 1879, all of which prompted themes of death, tombs, etc., in his work, the main underlying theme seems to be reunion with his mother whom the omnipotence of ideas brings to life again in a sort of nostalgic return to primary narcissism. Vermorel considers the importance of mourning in grief and in creative activity. Melanie Klein argued that the creative impulse is contemporaneous with the depressive phase and is born of the need to restore the lost object. A psychological critic of Mallarmé, Charles Mauron, catalogued a network of obsessive metaphors which underlie Mallarmé's work. But,

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according to Vermorel, it has not been sufficiently noted that this group of metaphors relates exclusively to the mother's body through the intermediary of the voice, a voice which sings alone or with old instruments. There is emphasis on the eyes as well in these metaphors discerned by Mauron. This would link with Spitz's work on the maternal visage. Vermorel argues that for Mallarmé, writing was an incestuous act, an orgasm transmuted into literature. He reviews many aspects of Mallarmé's life in the light of these themes and notes the curious period of Mallarmé's life in which he edited a women's fashion magazine under female pseudonyms. He discusses also the posthumous Book, a megalomaniacal sketch of a "new sort of supreme art which would resume all art," and which placed Mallarmé as a fantasy god of autocreation. This return to the mother and to narcissistic origins implies a narcissistic regression which relates literary creation to the dream and to madness.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1984). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIV, 1980. Psychoanal. Q., 53:642-643

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