Mallarmé’s ‘Sonnet Allégorique de Lui-Même’ – Allegorical of Itself or of Himself?

The title, "Sonnet allégorique de lui-même," which Mallarmé initially gave to his poem "Ses purs ongles," is generally taken to mean "Sonnet allegorical of itself." But a close examination of the first and final versions and of other poems dating from the same period, relating them to the poet’s ideas as revealed in his correspondence at that time, suggests that the title should be understood as "Sonnet allegorical of himself" rather than "itself" and that the poem refers to the process of poetic death and rebirth that Mallarmé went through in the years 1864 to 1868. (CC)

Chadwick, Charles.
Volume 2002-2003 Fall-Winter; 31(1-2): 104-10.