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(pärnăs`ēənz), 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. The Parnassians were influenced by Théophile GautierGautier, Théophile
, 1811–72, French poet, novelist, and critic. He was a leading exponent of "art for art's sake"—the belief that formal, aesthetic beauty is the sole purpose of a work of art.
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 and his doctrine of "art for art's sake." In reaction to the looser forms of romantic poetry, they strove for exact and faultless workmanship, selecting exotic and classical subjects which they treated with rigidity of form and emotional detachment.



(Parnasse), the name of a group of French poets. The group’s name took hold after the publication of the anthology Le Parnasse contemporain (Modern Parnassus) in 1866. The leader of the Parnassians was C. Leconte de Lisle.

Rejecting romantic rebellion, criticism of reality, and the sentimental lyricism of the past, the Parnassians preached withdrawal from modern life into the world of “dispassionate” poetry, and they called for new forms and a new poetic language. As G. V. Plekhanov observed, this was a “bourgeois rejection of bourgeois banality” (Plekhanov, Iskusstvo i literatura, 1948, p. 308). The idea of “art for art’s sake,” which had already been expressed by T. Gautier, became the Parnassians’ program. Their first collection (18 issues, March-July 1866) contained the work of 37 poets, many of whom were novices (for example, P. Verlaine and S. Mallarmé). The collection met with success, but it also caused disputes, evoked criticism from E. Zola and the brothers E. de Goncourt and J. de Goncourt, and inspired pamphlets and parodies.

The cult of form led the Parnassians to political and moral indifferentism. Disagreements among the members of the group were exacerbated by the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) and the Paris Commune of 1871. For example, Verlaine, L.-X. de Ricard, and A. Glatigny joined the Commune, but F. Coppée and C. Mendès reconciled themselves to the reaction. The Parnassians’ second collection (1871) included works by 55 poets of various schools. (The young A. France was a Parnassian.) The third and last collection, which came out in 1876, resembles anthologies of modern Frech poetry. Despite the ideological limitations of Parnassian aesthetics, the group’s most talented representatives greatly enriched French poetry of the late 19th century.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1956. Pages 582–98.
France, A. Sobranie sochinenii, vol. 8. Moscow, 1960.
Martino, P. Parnasse et symbolisme, 7th ed. Paris, 1947.
Ricard, L.-X. de. “Petits mémoires d’un Parnassien.” In A. Racot, Les Parnassiens. Paris, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
Along with medieval fixed forms, de Banville and the Parnassians also promoted the late-medieval poetic device of rime riche--rhyme produced by agreement in sound not only of the last accented vowel and any succeeding sounds but also the consonant preceding this vowel (for example, "night .
3) While the dedication offers the reader clues about the poet's aesthetic and ideological formation, the choices of the art works also mark the cultural milieu in which Machado was operating, a milieu that included traces of the Parnassian and Decadent currents that had profoundly impacted European letters.
In the same breath, Mann cites Stefan George as another distinguished German writer indebted to French poets and opines that George's disciples, mocked here as "Propheten," would do well not to "wegstilisieren" B audelaire and the French Parnassians (517).
7) Saint-Saens's credo recalls the tenets of the Parnassian poets, a literary movement that thrived thirty to forty years earlier.
Inevitably, a major focal point of any biography of Rimbaud is his scandalous relationship with Paul Verlaine, the married and respected member of the Parnassian poets.
Baudelaire first appears in Degeneration as a degenerate exhibiting the symptoms characteristic of the Parnassians and Diabolists (pp.
Where the Parnassians and the University Wits (especially Robert Greene) often railed despairingly over the changing markets and criteria for their work, other writers took advantage of the transition from a patronage to a commercial metaphor for writing.
Since the poem is so beautifully realized, with elegant and sophisticated rhymes, modulated rhythms, and varied caesura] pauses, there is never any doubt that the poet behind the speaker is himself avowedly a Parnassian, one who delights in the complicated and ecstatic familial interactions of language.
Parnassius smintheus like many Parnassians is typical of mountainous areas.
The Romantics doubted the existence of God; the Parnassians were
Guilbeaux urged his readers to seek out these fresh poetic voices and to reject the outmoded Parnassians and symbolists whose works had been strait-jacketed by aristocratic rules of form.
French-Canadian poet who was the primary force behind the founding of the Montreal Literary School (1895), a group of Symbolists and Aesthetes who reacted against the traditional Canadian themes of patriotism and local color and, following the Parnassians, espoused the principle of art for art's sake.