ABSTRACT The eclogue L'Après-midi d'un faune has long been seen as a breakthrough to the mature “symbolist” phase of Mallarmé's oeuvre. Clichés about the “mystery” essential to symbolist poetic style have, however, forestalled rigorous analysis of the work's structure. Exposing a formal “rhythm” that draws the strophic sections into a pattern of virtual “folios and bifolios,” this article reads the faun eclogue as a secret model of “le Livre,” “the Book,” lodestar of Mallarmé's aesthetic project. In giving new focus to the work's pointed dialogue with classical Virgilian pastoral, this reading also draws on Benveniste's writings about linguistic subjectivity to understand its enactment, through the character of the faun, of an agonistic search for voiced presence.

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