The forerunner of our digital age, a French poem about a shipwreck published in 1897, with its mind-bending possibilities of being read up and down, backwards and forwards, even sideways, launched modernism. St?phane Mallarm?'s "One Toss of the Dice" has for over a century tantalised everyone from physicists to composers to graphic artists. R. Howard Bloch decodes the poem still considered among the most enigmatic ever written. Creating a shimmering portrait of Belle-?poque Paris with a cast of exotic characters—Napoleon III, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste Rodin, Berthe Morisot, even an expatriate American dentist, Bloch positions Mallarm? as the spiritual giant of late-nineteenth-century France. Featuring a new translation of the poem by J.D. McClatchy, One Toss of the Dice reveals how a masterpiece shaped our perceptual world.