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Related to symbolists: symbolism


in literature, a school originating in France toward the end of the 19th cent. in reaction to the naturalism and realism of the period. Designed to convey impressions by suggestion rather than by direct statement, symbolism found its first expression in poetry but was later extended to the other arts. The early symbolists experimented with form, revolting against the rigidity of the ParnassiansParnassians
, group of 19th-century French poets, so called from their journal the Parnasse contemporain. Issued from 1866 to 1876, it included poems of Leconte de Lisle, Banville, Sully-Prudhomme, Verlaine, Coppée, and J. M. de Heredia.
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 with a free versefree verse,
term loosely used for rhymed or unrhymed verse made free of conventional and traditional limitations and restrictions in regard to metrical structure. Cadence, especially that of common speech, is often substituted for regular metrical pattern.
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 that has outlived the movement itself. The precursors of the school, all influenced by Baudelaire, included Verlaine, Mallarmé, and Rimbaud. They were accused of writing with a decadent morbidity, partly as the result of their utilization of imagination as a reality. The movement was continued in poetry by Laforgue, Moréas, and Régnier; in drama by Maeterlinck; in criticism by Remy de Gourmont; and in music by Debussy. Among the later symbolists were Claudel, Valéry, Jammes, and the critic Camille Mauclair. The influence of the French symbolists not only gave rise to similar schools in England, Germany, and other countries, but also may be traced in the development of the imagistsimagists,
group of English and American poets writing from 1909 to about 1917, who were united by their revolt against the exuberant imagery and diffuse sentimentality of 19th-century poetry.
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 and decadentsdecadents,
in literature, name loosely applied to those 19th-century, fin-de-siècle European authors who sought inspiration, both in their lives and in their writings, in aestheticism and in all the more or less morbid and macabre expressions of human emotion.
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; it is likewise evident in the work of Arthur Symons, T. S. Eliot, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Eugene O'Neill, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, William Faulkner, and E. E. Cummings.


See C. M. Bowra, The Heritage of Symbolism (1943); W. K. Cornell, The Symbolist Movement (1970); A. Balakian, The Symbolist Movement (1967, repr. 1977) and ed., The Symbolist Movement in the Literature of European Languages (1982).

References in periodicals archive ?
Symbolist artists believed overall in a rejection of naturalism and that art should transmit an idea or emotion.
Similarly, Albrecht does not acknowledge a key body of recent critical scholarship in this field, such as Joseph Acquisto's French Symbolist Poetry and the Idea of Music (2006), or Margaret Miner's Resonant Gaps between Baudelaire and Wagner (1995), to name but two.
In the symbolist novel, the authors themselves typically play the role of the protagonist, often as ironic judges of their own work.
George's reliance on pictorial inspiration for his mythical verse points to his encounter with the Symbolists.
In his Symbolist Art Theories: A Critical Anthology, Henri Dorra identifies Baudelaire's sonnet "Correspondences" of 1857, from Les Fleurs du mal, "as the preliminary manifesto of the French symbolist movement" for both its occult allusions and sensory cross-connections.
Realists and symbolists, More says, are both naturalists who choose the side of physis against nomos, and for a narrative technique they employ the subjectivist portrayal of mental awareness called "stream of consciousness" which insults human dignity by reducing man to his moment-to-moment life of sensations and erupting urges, and which repudiates "rational selection and spiritual authority"--so that, as he says in an essay on Joyce, "the only law governing the flux is the so-called association of ideas, the fact that one image by some chance similarly evokes another, and one sensation fades into another.
In 1899 appeared the first version of his book The Symbolist Movement in Literature.
Bartlett does introduce critical concepts from Russian folk tradition, for example, the khorovod (ancient "mystical choral dance") and the obshchina (the commune), and explain how these cultural rites and features, especially as interpreted by Russian symbolists, equate to planks in Wagner's aesthetic platform.
His perceptions are unfailingly astute, whether the subject is japonisme, Baudelaire's art criticism, a reinterpretation of Watteau's L'Embarquement pour Cythere, or Debussy's relation to the realists, symbolists and impressionists.
Only a few representative poems of the Russian symbolists are cited, whereas 402 pages of the study present Hellman's uninspiring critical discourse.
Only those Symbolists like Briusov and (to a lesser extent) Blok who could be claimed as friends of the new order received their appointed places in the Soviet history of Russian Symbolism.