UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Laurent, Mèry
Record 8 of 15

System Number: 13445
Date: 28 June 1890
Author: Stéphane Mallarmé[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PLc[2]


Paris,

Samedi 28 Juin 1890

Mon cher ami

J'ai vagabondé entre Fontainebleau et Paris. Le livre[3] m'attendait, depuis Lundi. Quel bijou! il vaut un de vos cadres; et, à l'intérieur, c'est tout Whistler, ah, ah! Je le montre à tout le monde, comme moi émerveillé. Quelqu'un me demande s'il se vend, c'est Méry[4], pour Evans[5]; il n'y a pas de nom d'éditeur, quel dommage si ce n'était que for private circulation! et non! car nous perdrions autrement ce délicieux Chelsea[6]. Les lettres, même sans l'évolution de l'irascible et exquis papillon (par instants, il me fait peur, sur sa tige) sont tracées de la même pointe exactement que vos eaux-fortes. Le Ten O'clock[7] est enfin chez lui; mais ma joie, absolue, c'est le procès Ruskin[8], je vous affirme que je me suis déjà constitué plusieurs fois en Nicholson[9] Judge en Jury pour me le jouer à moi tout seul. Quelle représentation idéale! Et Merci de mon nom[10], que j'ai découvert avant tout; ainsi placé, par vous, mon cher Whistler, ce m'a été doux.

J'attends quelque petite note, quand vous en aurez une pour l'American Register[11]; et ai-je le droit de faire reviewer l'envoi, dans quelque périodique.

J'ai récemment parlé de vous avec votre camarade d'école, Mrs. C. Moulton[12]. Avec cette lettre, un numéro de la Revue d'Aujourd'hui[13], son Salon, où vous tenez la place qu'il sied ... Au revoir, les meilleurs amitiés à Madame Whistler[14].

Votre

Stéphane Mallarmé


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

My dear friend

I have been wandering between Fontainebleau and Paris. The book had been waiting for me since Monday. What a jewel! it is worth one of your frames; and, on the inside, it is all Whistler, ah! I show it to everybody, and they, as I am, are filled with wonder. Someone is asking me if it is for sale: it is Méry, for Evans; there is no publisher's name, what a shame if it were only for private circulation! and no! for we would otherwise lose this delicious Chelsea. Even without the evolution of the irascible and exquisite butterfly (sometimes it scares me, on its shank), the letters are drawn by exactly the same tip as your etchings. The Ten O'Clock has finally arrived where it belongs; but my greatest pleasure is the Ruskin trial, I assure you that I have already transformed myself several times into Nicholson Judge and Jury in order to play it out to myself alone. What an ideal representation! And Thank you for the mention of my name, which I discovered first and foremost; placed there by you, my dear Whistler, it gave me great pleasure.

I await some short note, whenever you have one for the American Register; and may I have the right to have what you send reviewed, in some periodical.

I spoke about you recently with your school friend, Mrs C. Moulton. With this letter, here too is an issue of the Revue d'Aujourd'hui, its Salon, where you have the fitting place... Goodbye, best wishes to Mrs Whistler.

Your

Stéphane Mallarmé


Notes:

1.  Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

2.  PLc
Published in Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], no. XXXVI, pp. 62-63.

3.  livre
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.

4.  Méry
Méry Laurent (1849-1900), née Anne-Rose Louviot, actress and courtesan [more].

5.  Evans
Dr Thomas William (or Wiltberger) Evans (1830-1897), dentist, publisher of the American Register [more].

6.  Chelsea
On the cover and half-title there is the unique indication of origin: 'CHELSEA'. Mallarmé has not yet noticed that the title, found on page [XI] of this much sought-after work, does indeed state: 'LONDON MDCCCXC | WILLIAM HEINEMANN'.

7.  Ten O'clock
Whistler, James McNeill, Le 'Ten O'Clock' de M. Whistler, Paris, 1888.

8.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. JW had sued him for libel, and published the case as Art and Art Critics.

9.  Nicholson
The judge in the actual libel case was Baron Huddleston - Mallarmé's reference has not been clarified.

10.  nom
An ironical marginal note on a letter from Oscar Wilde ended 'Foolish Baudelaire! - Mistaken Mallarmé!' (Whistler 1890, op. cit, p. 161).

11.  American Register
English-language Parisian Journal edited by Evans.

12.  Mrs. C. Moulton
Louise Chandler Moulton (1835-1908), née Ellen Louise Chandler, writer and poet [more], had known Whistler since they went to Christ Church Hall school in Pomfret, Connecticut (1849-51), and had often met him in London since. Her acquaintance with Mallarmé was more recent. She translated his Tombeau d'Edgar Poe, and sent him her poems and children's stories, and she tried to see him each time she came to spend the summer months in Europe.

13.  Revue d'Aujourd'hui
Gustave Geffroy, 'Le Salon des X Champs-Elysées', Revue d'Aujourdhui, 1 May 1890. In it Geffroy praised JW's exhibits in 105th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1890.

14.  Madame Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].