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Quentin Meillassoux’s The Number and the Siren

Quentin Meillassoux presenting The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s “Coup de dés,” Sequence Press, New York, May 6, 2012.

The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s “Coup de dés,” by Quentin Meillassoux. Falmouth, UK: Urbanomic/Sequence Press, 2012. 298 pages.

IN MAY OF THIS YEAR, the latest contribution to the philosophico-literary genre known as “speculative realism” appeared: an English-language translation of The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé’s “Coup de dés. In this rip-roaringly paranoid, critical fantasia by way of The Da Vinci Code, we follow not Robert Langdon but one Quentin Meillassoux—a youngish and meteorically successful student of Alain Badiou’s and professor at L’École Normale Supérieure in Paris—as he pursues the book’s subeponymous English professor and symbologist at the close of the nineteenth century, tracking the poet Stéphane Mallarmé through his famous 1897 ode to chance and the arbitrariness of the linguistic sign, Un Coup de dés jamais

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