Series

Urbanomic x Sequence Press

ISBN 978-0-9832169-2-6

Publication

The Number and the Siren

A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s Coup de Des

Original Edition
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  • Paperback
  • 175×115mm
  • 306pp.
Published with
    Quentin Meillassoux, 'The Number and the Siren', published by Urbanomic and Sequence Press
    Quentin Meillassoux, 'The Number and the Siren', published by Urbanomic and Sequence Press (detail)
    Quentin Meillassoux, 'The Number and the Siren', published by Urbanomic and Sequence Press (detail)
    Quentin Meillassoux, 'The Number and the Siren', published by Urbanomic (detail)

    Translated by

    • Robin Mackay

    A page-turner … I haven’t read a critical book with such eagerness to find out what happens next for a long time. Beautifully produced and translated, a book every poetry lover will want to have in his pocket to read on bus, train and plane.

    — Gabriel Josipovici, Times Literary Supplement

    Meillassoux has added a crucial dimension nobody ever noticed despite innumerable ‘close readings’.

    — Daniel Birnbaum, ArtForum

    A meticulous literary study, a detective story à la Edgar Allan Poe, a treasure-hunt worthy of an adventure novel—such is the register in which can be deciphered the hidden secrets of a poem like no other. Quentin Meillassoux, author of After Finitude, continues his philosophical interrogation of the concepts of chance, contingency, infinity and eternity through a concentrated study of Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de Dés, patiently deciphering its enigmatic meaning on the basis of a dazzlingly simple and lucid insight with regard to Mallarmé’s ‘unique Number’.

    The decisive point of the investigation proposed by Meillassoux comes with a discovery, unsettling and yet as simple as a child’s game. The Number that ‘can be no other’ can only be revealed to us via a secret code, hidden in the Coup de dés like a key that finally unlocks every one of its poetic devices. Thus is also unveiled the meaning of that siren, emerging for a lightning-flash amongst the debris of the shipwreck: as the living heart of a drama that is still unfolding.

    With this bold new interpretation of Mallarmé’s work, Meillassoux offers brilliant insights into modernity, poetics, secularism and religion, and opens a new chapter in his philosophy of radical contingency.

    The volume contains the entire text of the Coup de dés and three other poems, with new English translations.