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Number and the Siren

by Quentin Meillassoux Urbanomic/Sequence Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 312 pages
AU$59.99 NZ$63.47
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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A philosophical interrogation of the concepts of chance, contingency, and eternity through a concentrated study of Mallarmé's poem “Un Coup de Dés.”


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.


Meillassoux has added a crucial dimension nobody ever noticed despite innumerable GÇ£close readings.n++?

'Daniel Birnbaum, Artforum
Quentin Meillassoux teaches philosophy at Université de Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and is author of After Finitude.