The Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought, Goldsmiths University of London

Research Centre run jointly between the Departments of Sociology and English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths University, London

Maladies of the Book, I: Mallarmé (3 November, 2017, ICA)

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Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought with the Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London


Symposium Series 2017-18

Maladies of the Book

I: Mallarmé

Venue: ICA, The Mall, Studio

Friday 3rd November 2017 at 2 – 6 pm

The poet Stéphane Mallarmé famously wrote, ’everything in the world exists in order to end up in a book’. He never managed to achieve Le Livre as the multi-volume tome, or the performance that would usher in a new age for which he left numerous notes, but in the process, he transformed the understanding and practice of writing and became a source of radical aesthetic practice for thinkers including Julia Kristeva, Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou. We return to Mallarmé at a time when the book as codex and repository is challenged by the dispersal of the digital internet, and when ‘book performance’ has become a characteristic mode of art practice. Tom McCarthy (novelist, essayist, artist) who will read from his novel Satin Island and discuss Mallarmé’s text ‘Conflict’; Josh Cohen will read Mallarmé’s prose texts; Michael Newman will discuss the film by Daniel Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, Toute revolution est un coup de dés (1977); and Sophie Sleigh-Johnson will give a performance and discuss crypt-radio and the radio play ‘Igitur Flotsam’ by Reinier van Houdt (2017). The audience will participate throughout in readings of Mallarmé’s poems and prose texts. 

Eventbrite link for reservations for Mallarmé symposium: 

Organized by Josh Cohen and Michael Newman.



Maladies of the Book Symposium series: 

Will involve collective reading, interventions, and a guest to contribute to the discussion

1. Mallarmé – November 3rd

guest: Tom McCarthy (novelist, essayist, artist)

2. Bataille – December 1st

guest: Patrick ffrench (Professor of French Language and Literature, Kings, University of London)

3. Blanchot – February 2nd

4. Beckett – March 16th

5. Duras – TBA


Mallarmé symposium details: 

Guest: Tom McCarthy (novelist, essayist, artist) who will read from his novel Satin Island and discuss Mallarmé’s text ‘Conflict’.

Texts for reading:

Un coup de dés

‘Crisis of Verse’, ‘Restricted Action’, ‘The Book as Spiritual Instrument’ and ‘Conflict’ from Stéphane Mallarmé, Divagations, trans. Barbara Johnson (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007).

Extracts from the ‘Livre’ in Azure, trans. Blake Bronson-Bartlett and Robert Fernandez (Middletown, Con.: Wesleyan University Press, 2015)

Tom McCarthy, Satin Island: A Novel (London: Jonathan Cape, 2015)



Josh Cohen: on Mallarmé’s prose texts.

Michael Newman: on the film by Daniel Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, Toute revolution est un coup de dés (1977)

Sophie Sleigh-Johnson: on crypt-radio and the radio play ‘Igitur Flotsam’ by Reinier van Houdt (2017)


Further Reading:

Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Myth of Mallarmé’ (1946) from The Work of Firetrans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1995), pp. 27-42.

Maurice Blanchot, ‘Mallarmé’s Experience’ and ‘The Igitur Experience’ from The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln, Neb. and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1982, Fr. 1955), pp. 18-48, 108-119.

Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Absence of the Book’ in The Infinite Conversation, trans. Susan Hanson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993, Fr. 1969), pp. 422-434.

Jacques Derrida’ Mimique’ in Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981), pp. 173-285.

Barnaby Norman, Mallarmé’s Sunset: Poetry at the End of Time (London, UK: Legenda, Modern Humanities Research Association and Maney Publishing, 2014).

Tom McCarthy, ‘Recessional, or the Time of the Hammer’ and ‘Nothing Will Have Taken Place Except the Place’ in Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish: Essays (New York: New York Review Books, 2017), pp. 99-124, 209-237.

Alain Badiou, Being and Event (London; New York: Continuum, 2005), pp. 191-198.

Alain Badiou, Handbook of Inaesthetics (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2005), pp. 46-56.

Quentin Meillassoux, The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s Coup de Dés (Falmouth and New York: Urbanomic and Sequence Press, 2012).

Jacques Rancière, Mallarmé: The Politics of the Siren (London; New York: Continuum, 2011).

Robert Boncardo, Mallarmé: Rancière, Milner, Badiou (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017).

Robert Boncardo, ‘Mallarmé in Alain Badiou’s Theory of the Subject’ 

Pierre Macherey, ‘Le Mallarmé d’Alain Badiou’, from Alain Badiou, Penser le multiple, sous la direction de C. Ramond, Paris, 2002, éd. L’Harmattan, p. 397-406 

Quentin Meillassoux, ‘Badiou and Mallarmé: The Event and the Perhaps’, Parrhesia, no. 16, 2013, pp. 35-47  

Jacques Rancière, ‘Aesthetics, Inaesthetics, Anti-aesthetics’, trans. Ray Brassier, in Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy, ed. by Peter Hallward, (London; New York: Continuum, 2004), pp. 218-258.  


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