Bloch 2017

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Bloch, R. Howard. One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern. New York: W. W. Norton, 2017.

"Some of the notes that Mallarme left for The Book indicate that he conceived of writing a work which would hark back to the origins of Western literature and would supplant Homer, in what would be a new source for poetry in the epic mode. So, in a mythic move that reached all the way back to the beginnings of voyage literature and Homer's Odyssey, Mallarme, an avid sailor, took to the sea in this masterwork. 'One Toss of the Dice' is, in fact, a seafarer's tale of a shipwreck, filled with images of water, o fa captain, master and helmsman, of waves, surges, and of the shell, sails, tilting deck, plunging prow, toppled mast of a ship, listing to this side or that. In the distance, the horizon frames the sinking boat, while winds howl. Closer in, the general litter of driftwood crowns the depiction of disaster." (22)

"Mallarme's poem resembles a great cosmic telegram whose terse syntactic leaps make sense along the lines of juxtaposition and not subordination. The overall impression is one of enormous compression." (219)

cyclicality -- nesting structures

"'OTofD' participated, alongside cinema, in the worldwide quest for time simultaneity. Yet Mallerme's epic poem also summoned ideas that were much older than the technological advances and poetic breaks of the last decade of the nineteenth century. The dream of animating individual things, still and detached, by making them part of a greater whole, reached all the way back to the thinking of such questions in the West." (225-6)

"OTotD respondes more powerfully than any poem I know to the age-old question that still presses powerfully upon modern philosoph: How is it that we can conceive of whole, universal, abstract things, yet we cannot capture their wholeness in language? Why is it that we cannot render -- speak or write, or even think -- their unified ideal nature through words?" (226)

relationship to sounds of English in OTotD (260)