Over the past year or so, I’ve been reading on and off an Oxford paperback collection of Mallarmé’s poems. After not having looked at it the last few months, I picked it up again about a week ago and continued from where’d I’d left off.
Much to my surprise, I found the poems in this middle section of the book noticeably more straightforward and easy to follow compared to my previous experience with this poet, notoriously oblique and difficult to interpret. “He must have drastically changed his approach to writing after a certain point in his life,” I thought, “Or no, wait – I must be getting smarter!”
Much pleased and encouraged, I carried on with renewed enthusiasm. It wasn’t until a few days later that I noticed I wasn’t reading Mallarmé at all – it was an Oxford paperback Verlaine with a similar cover.