Mallarme envisioned The Book as a cosmic text-architecture: an extremely flexible structure that would reveal nothing short of "all existing relations between everything.
This "Grand Oeuvre", wholly freed from the subjectivity of its author and containing the sum of all books was, for Mallarme, the essence of all literature and at the same time a "very ordinary" book. The realization of this "pure" work that he planned to publish in an edition of precisely 480,000 copies never progressed beyond its conception and a detailed analysis of structural and material questions relating to publication and presentation.
Yet to Mallarme, The Book, which was to found the "true cult of the modern era," was by no means a failure. "It happens on its own," he explained of The Book's unique action in one of his final statements.