(Mallarmé, lettre à Eugène Lefébure du 18 février 1865)
SIR, - My attention has been drawn to a review of Salomé which was published in your columns last week [February 23, 1893]. The opinions of English critics on a French work of mine have, of course, little if any, interest for me. I write simply to ask you to correct a misstatement that appears in the review in question.
The fact that the greatest tragic actress of any stage now living saw in my play such beauty that she was anxious to produce it, to take herself the part of the heroine, to lend to the entire poem the glamour of her personality, and to my prose the music of her flutelike voice – this was naturally, and always will be, a source of pride and pleasure to me, and I look forward with delight to seeing Mme. Bernhardt present my play in Paris, that vivid centre of art, where religious dramas are often performed. But my play was in no sense of the words written for this great actress. I have never written a play for any actor or actress, not shall I ever do so. Such work is for the artisan in literature – not for the artist. – I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
(Times, March 2, 1893)