Thinking on Paper

“A radical experiment in design and typography Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup De Des (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance 1897) privileges form over content or rather form as content , such that blank space, varied typography and the material folds of the book augment and even transform the semantics of the text. As Mallarmé writes in his preface to the first issue of the poem:

“The paper intervenes every time an image on its own, ceases or retires within the page, accepting the succession of the others, and it is not a question unlike the usual state of affairs, of regular sound effects or verses – rather of prismatic subdivisions of the idea, the instant when they appear and during which their cooperation lasts , in some exact mental setting. The text imposes itself in various places, near or far from the latent guiding thread, according to what seems to be the probable sense.”

(For the French version and (albeit different) English translation click here.

Text reproduced from Image reproduced from