Sea and structure in fin-de-si?cle France: Mallarm? and Debussy
A copious sea literature exists in nineteenth-century France, and the works of such figures as Hugo, Baudelaire, Michelet and Rimbaud contain a recurrent tension between two divergent views of maritime experience. On the one hand, the sea offers the encouraging spectacle of endless possibility and plurality, but on the other hand it is an emblem of intellectual defeat and of humankind at the mercy of an inhospitable natural world. In major works by Mallarm 98) and Debussy (1862 open Un Coup de d the remorseless action of the sea is associated with the periodic achievement and loss of aesthetic structure.
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