A Blow of Dice Never Will Abolish Chance

A Poem

Stéphane Mallarmé, Holly Cundiff



Among the most influential works of the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–98), Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le Hasard feels to this day revolutionary and resoundingly contemporary, both for the suggestive power of its unconventional free verse and for its striking visual impact. For the poet, the white spaces, or scattered "silences," are as integral to the reading as the words on the page, and the very design—the typographical layers and the arrangement of lines and words upon the page and across spreads—carries meaning and content.

At the time of his death in 1898, Mallarmé was close to realizing his vision of a deluxe, large-format publication of the poem that would meet his precise specifications with regard to dimensions, typography and page design, and would include commissioned lithographs by his friend Odilon Redon, an artist he admired for the tonal richness and symbolic power of his images.

This two-volume edition brings all of these elements together for the first time in an English-language edition. Separate French and English volumes allow for individual readings of the original poem and this fresh new translation (A Blow of Dice Never Will Abolish Chance), each produced at full scale, meticulously typeset and accompanied by Redon's evocative illustrations.

From the publisher ↗