Verniana — Jules Verne Studies / Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 10 (2017–2018) — 207–218

Dados os dados : Mallarmé Verne

Augusto de Campos


This study seeks to find points of contact between two great antagonistic writers, Verne and Mallarmé, contemporary in literature for twenty years. Presented by Hetzel — in the preface to Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras (Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras) — as an antidote to « l'art pour Art », Jules Verne never mentioned Mallarmé. On the other hand, Mallarmé refers to Verne once in La Dernière mode (The Last Fashion) (07/01/1874), referring to Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours ( Around the World in Eighty Days) as a "living atlas of geography" and considering Verne as "very interesting". Yet both admired Baudelaire and especially Edgar Allan Poe. Both, each in their own way, have sought to achieve a complete and universal work. In Mallarmé, the theme of travel and shipwreck appears very early in poems such as « Le Pitre châtié » ("The Punished Pitre") and « Brise marine » ("Marine Breeze"). The same thing happens with Verne at the narrative level, especially beginning with Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras. In 1897 appeared in the Magasin d'éducation et de récréation from January to December, the daring Vernian sequel of Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym by Poe — under the title Le Sphinx des glaces (The Ice Sphinx). Hetzel published the book in November. May 4 of that year appeared in the literary monthly Cosmopolis the first version of Mallarmé's long poem Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance). The imaginary landscape of the two works has enormous affinities, despite the antinomic forms of expression. In 1898, Verne published Le Testament d'un excentrique (The Will of an Eccentric), a work in which "chance" and "dice" are the central theme. Written in 1897 and serialized in the Magasin d'éducation et de récréation, (January-December 1899), the novel came out as a book in November, like the previous novel. The extraordinary coincidence of dates and themes, from Shipwreck to Chance and Dice, seems to unite the two writers, converging the seemingly irreconcilable border of their literary horizons.

Note: The word play (disambiguation) of the Portuguese title « Dados os dados » refers to the past participle of the verb « dar » (to give) and the noun « dados » (dice). Literally it means "given the dice", in fact "the dice are thrown", recalling the crossing of the Rubicon by Julius Caesar (another Jules)...

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