UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Vielé-Griffin, Francis
Record 1 of 65

System Number: 03778
Date: 25 April 1888
Author: Stéphane Mallarmé[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M112
Document Type: ALS[2]


Paris 89 rue de Rome

Mercredi 25 Avril 1888

Mon cher Monsieur Whistler,

J'ai remis à Dujardin la traduction[3], telle qu'elle paraîtra dans la Revue Indépendante pour y servir d'épreuves à la brochure. Vous recevrez [p. 2] tout de suite le numéro, le lirez et me communiquerez vos remarques, en ami; m'indiquant les retouches en cas que j'aie ici ou là trahi votre pensée quelque peu. J'ai tâché de faire un simple calque exact et de conserver [p. 3] le geste et le ton oratoires, comme si vous vous apprêtiez à refaire la conférence en Français; et si j'ai peut-être altéré une expression ou deux, c'est dans ce désir et pour que tout fût bien dans la voix.

[p. 4] J'ai ajouté à mon nom de traducteur celui d'un jeune poëte[4] et ami, qui m'a tenu la plume pendant le travail. Y voyez-vous un inconvénient, pour la brochure au moins? enfin mettez-vous tout à l'aise en me répondant. Il faut en cette affaire que [p. 5] d'abord tout vous plaise.

La pagination de la brochure française reproduira la vôtre expressément; ne faites pas attention au texte compact de la Revue, la quelle ne [p. 6] laissera certes pas, malgré mes recommandations, apercevoir suffisamment de linge.

J'entends dire, Monet[5] ne donnant pas signe de vie et Renoir[6] d'enthousiasme pour l'exposition internationale[7], [p. 7] que cette Solennité où vous deviez reparaître, n'est-ce pas? la Soirée d'ouverture, n'aurait peut-être pas lieu le 6 Mai, ni plus tard. N'importe! il faudra, nous, [p. 8] avec le Ten O'Clock être prêts à peu près à cette date, pour ne pas venir trop longtemps après la Revue.

Merci des choses cordiales et gracieuses que vous me dites: je suis bien heureux de la double connaissance faite avec le voyageur et l'écrivain subtil.[8]

Votre

Stéphane Mallarmé

Vendredi. - Je rouvre ma lettre; je viens d'entendre dire par Renoir, et vous signale, que l'Exposition Internationale, n'aura pas lieu, le 6, chez Petit; mais bien probablement le 16, chez Durand-Ruel[9]. Peut-être du reste en êtes-vous informé.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

My dear Mr Whistler,

I delivered the translation to Dujardin, so that it will appear in the Independent Review to serve as proof for the brochure. You will receive [p. 2] the item immediately, read it and let me have your comments, as a friend; telling me about any alterations in case I have misrepresented your meaning a little here and there. I have tried to make a simple and precise version and to keep the [p. 3] manner and the oratorical tone, as if you were preparing to repeat the article in French; and if perhaps I have altered one or two expressions, it was with that intention and so that everything should be in your voice.

Perhaps [p. 4] I have added to the name of translator that of a young poet and friend, who held my pen during my work. If you see any inconsistency, at least for the brochure, please do not hesitate to reply to me. This will have to take place on the 6th, at Petit's; but probably [p. 5] the first thing is to please you.

The pagination of the French brochure deliberately repeats your own; do not pay any attention to the compact text of the Review, which will certainly not leave sufficient margin visible, in spite of my recommendations.

I have heard that Monet is giving no sign of life and Renoir no enthusiasm for the international exhibition [p. 7] that this solemnity where you should reappear, is it not"? The opening evening will perhaps not take place on 6th May, nor later. No Matter! We must [p. 8] be ready for the Ten O'Clock on about that date so that we do not arrive too long after the Review.

Thank you for your kind messages: I am very happy to know both the traveller and the subtle writer.

Yours

Stéphane Mallarmé

Friday. I have reopened my letter; I have just heard that Renoir has said, and to tell you, that the International Exhibition, will not take place, on the 6th, at Petit's, but probably on the 16th, at Durand-Ruel. Perhaps you have been told in any case.


Notes:

1.  Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more]. Mallarmé produced the first French translation of JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture'; see Whistler, James McNeill, Le 'Ten O'Clock' de M. Whistler, Paris, 1888 (Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, A. 11). The 'Ten O'Clock' was JW's chief public statement of his aesthetic ideas. It was first delivered in London on 20 February 1885 and was published in English by Chatto and Windus on 11 May 1888.

2.  ALS
Published by Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], no. IV, pp. 14-15.

3.  Dujardin la traduction
Édouard Dujardin (1861-1949), novelist and poet, editor of the Revue Indépendante [more]. Mallarmé's translation first appeared in the Symbolist review, the Revue Indépendante in May 1888. The Revue also published it as a pamphlet shortly afterwards (op. cit.).

4.  d'un jeune poëte
Francis Vielé-Griffin (1863/1864-1937), poet [more]. Griffin's name did not appear on the final translation.

5.  Monet
Claude Monet (1840-1926), artist [more].

6.  Renoir
Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), painter [more].

7.  l'exposition internationale
The venue for the exhibition was intended to be the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris. However, Monet had quarrelled with Petit and only JW and Paul-César-François Helleu (1859-1927), painter and etcher [more] had agreed to exhibit (C. Monet to A. Hoschede, 30 January 1888 in Wildenstein, Daniel, Claude Monet: biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1974-91, 5 vols., II, p. 8, cat. no. 822). See also C. Monet to JW, #04089.

8.  et l'ecrivain
The letter continues in the left margins of the letter, 'et l'écrivain... Mallarmé' on p. 8, 'Vendredi ... signale,' on p. 7, ''que ... n'est pas' on p. 6, 'lieu ... probablement' on p. 5, 'le 16 ... être' p. 4, and the rest on p. 3, all at right angles to the main text.

9.  Durand-Ruel
Exposition, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1888. JW sent the oil portrait, Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181), and a group of nocturnes, etchings and drawings.