Book: Sébastien Morlighem

Stéphane Mallarmé's ‘Un Coup de dés’ translated, composed & printed in arabic!

A new french publisher, Ypsilon, teams up with moroccan poet Mohammed Bennis for a world premiere : the first bilingual french-arabic edition of the seminal Mallarmé's poem.

Checcaglini-Bennis - Page de titre Coup de dés.jpg - Un coup de dés: itle pageof the arabic edition

Isabella Checcaglini, a young Italian writer & translator who’s living in Paris & just finishing a PhD about Stéphane Mallarmé’s poems, discovered while working on the poet’s publications his crucial typographic vision. She started learning letterpress printing at the École supérieure Estienne in the aim of understanding the typesetting of several Mallarmé pieces, according to several notes & letters extracts written by the poet.
She later researched the successive publications of ‘Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard’, most of them incorrect, according to the poet’s wishes & proof sheets of the first edition which was to be published (with three lithographs by Odilon Redon) by Ambroise Vollard, a famous Parisian art dealer. Mallarmé’s untimely death in 1898 aborted the project until 1914, when Gallimard published the first edition, but in a different book size & typesetting (Garamond instead of Didot) wanted by the poet.
She decided to publish the most faithful edition of ‘Un Coup de dés’ : correct book size, Didot typeface (she chose Jonathan Hoefler’s revival H&FJ Didot rather than Adrian Frutiger’s Linotype Didot, because of its various optical sizes), & Odilon Redon’s lithographs.
But the project got into an unexpected dimension after Checcaglini’s encounter with famous Moroccan poet Mohammed Bennis, who has started translating Mallarmé’s poem in Arabic. It was obvious that they should team up & work together on adapting carefully the poem’s typography to its own new Arabic space, using the Jasmin Arabic TrueType font.
Both books have companions titled ‘Relativement au poème’, where Bennis, Checcaglini & French poet Bernard Noël wrote several texts about the making of the project. A boxset gathers all four volumes, printed to 99 numbered copies, sold for 225 Euros if you want to subscribe until early December, where the price will increase to 300 Euros.
For more information, you can get in touch with Isabella Checcaglini : A website is under construction & should be online soon.
Expect many exciting projects next year from Ypsilon!