A gorgeous facsimile of the epochal collaboration between Mallarmé and Manet that inspired Nijinsky’s most famous dance.
The second published collaboration between Stéphane Mallarmé and Édouard Manet (after Mallarmé’s translation of Poe’s “The Raven”), L’après-midi d’un faune is one of the poet’s best-known works. It provided the basis for Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1894), which in turn inspired Nijinsky’s ballet L’après-midi d’un faune, first performed in Paris in 1912, with Nijinsky famously dancing the title role. Mallarmé’s poem unfolds in a sensual reverie as a Pan-like faun, arising from slumber, recollects his encounters with two forest nymphs in a monologue filled with pastoral and erotic allusions.
For Mallarmé, such publications were total works, with attention paid to every detail of layout, typography, punctuation and artwork. For the original 1876 publication, Manet created four wood engravings: two drawings that open and close the poem, and a frontispiece and ex-libris sheet that the artist hand-tinted with pink wash. This volume reproduces that first edition at full size accompanied by a new translation.