Symbolist Movement

  • Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du mal)

    Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du mal)
    The Flowers of Evil was written by Charles Baudelair and considered to be the roots of the Symbolist movement. Stephane Mallarme and Paul Verlaine would develop the esthetics of this new form of writing/way of thinking over the following twenty years or so.
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    Symbolist Movement

  • The Great Decade of Impressionism begins

    The Great Decade of Impressionism begins
    The spike in popularity of the Impressionist movement in 1870 is significant in that it is almost a counter movement of Symbolism. While Impressionism is meant to be an objective and accurate recording of reality, Symbolism is a critical literature and art that comments on percieved evils of society through a dreamlike or fantastical setting. Basically, the realistic nature of Impressionism and the the fantasy of Symbolism conflicted with one another.
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    The Great Decade of Impressionism

  • The Drunken Boat (Le Bateau ivre)

    The Drunken Boat (Le Bateau ivre)
    A poem written by Arthur Rimbaud, it is considered one of his most famous poems. It was this poem that drew Verlaine to Arthur Rimbaud and resulted in Rimbaud living with Verlaine and Verlaine's wife.
  • The Ancient Debate

    The Ancient Debate
    Written by Nikolay Minsky, this article is considered to be one of two works that helped introduce the Russian Symbolist movement. Minsky's article, aside of marking the start of the Russian Symbolist movement, also promoted extreme individualism which was a key concept that many Symbolists focused on.
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    Russian Symbolist Movement

  • The Accursed Poets(Les poetes maudits)

    The Accursed Poets(Les poetes maudits)
    Consisting of six brief biographies, Paul Verlaine had written short sections for some of his contemporaries including Rimbaud and Mallarme. The title refers to poets that either live outside of or against society. While such a title does not carry a good conotation, this work was meant to be an homage to all of those who were mentioned.
  • Article on Fernand Khnopff

    Article on  Fernand Khnopff
    Fernand Khnopff was a founder of Les XX (Les Vingt) and a leading Symbolist during the movement. Emile Verhaeran wrote an article on Khnopff, making Khnopff the first textually acknowleged Symbolist artist. Verhaeran made mention of Khnopff modernism in his article and definied "Symbolist art as part of:
    'A strong recoil of the modern imagination toward the past, an enormous scientific inquiry and unfamiliar passions... our fears, our boredoms, our vices, our despair and probably our agony.'"
  • Symbolist Manifesto

    Symbolist Manifesto
    The Symbolist Manifesto was written by Jean Moeas and was a declaration of the Symbolist movement. Not only did the manifesto define the publics view of Symbolist intentions but it also coined the term Symbolist. Until Jean Moreas' work, Symbolists had been labeled as "decadents" because of their fascination or over indulgence in fantasy and or dreams.
  • Symbolism in Painting: Paul Gauguin

    Symbolism in Painting: Paul Gauguin
    An article written by Albert Aurier, the article was based off of the symbolist work of Gauguin and provided the first definition of Symbolism as an aesthetic. Aurier commented that this Symbolist style was "the subjective vision of an artist expressed through a simplified and non-naturalistic style" and he gave Gauguin full credit for the style.
  • Serusier founds Nabis

    Serusier founds Nabis
    A secret Symbolist society organized by Serusier, it was a group of artists that was inspired by Gauguin.
  • On the Causes of the Decline and on the New Trends in Contemporary Russian Literature

    On the Causes of the Decline and on the New Trends in Contemporary Russian Literature
    The second of the the two pieces to inaugurate the Russian Symbolist movement. This book was written by Dmitry Merezhkovsky and promoted extreme individualism like Minsky did in his article. Merezhkovsky would go on further to produce a series on "god-men" that included figures like Christ, Dante, Napoleon, and Hitler.
  • Arthur Symons' The Symbolist Movement in Literature

    Arthur Symons' The Symbolist Movement in Literature
    Arthur Symons' novel brought the Symbolist movement to an English-speaking audience for the first time. Until Symons' novel, Symbolist pieces had never been made or explained in English because most Symbolist poets and writers were predominately French and or non-English writers. This allowed the influence of Symbolsim, which was already wide spread, to grow, reach a new audience, and influene more rising artists.
  • Cypress Box is published posthumously

    Cypress Box is published posthumously
    This was a definitive collection of Innokenty Annensky's verse. Innokenty Annensky was considered the Russian counterpart to Verlaine in that he wrote many great translations of French Symbolists and Euripides. His work is significant in that he was able to accurately convey meaning and important ideas from both Baudelaire's and Verlaine's original French pieces to a non-French speaking, Russian audience.
  • Russian Symbolist Movement ends

    Russian Symbolist Movement ends
    Russian symbolism ended in revolt as Russian futurism was created for the singular purpose of rejecting and ending Russian symbolism. By 1910, Russian symbolism had essentially lost most of its influence as futurism became dominant in Russia.
  • Yeats moves on

    Yeats moves on
    William Butler Yeats was a prominent Irish writer who was quite influenced by the French symbolist movement. However, Yeats did not totally agree with the symbolist form and, in an attempt to create a different style, he abondoned the dream-like aestetics of the symbolist movement in favor of a more realistic presentation of society. Yeats is considered both a Symbolist and Modernist poet because he incorporated different characteristics from both movenemnts into his own style of poetry.
  • Petersburg is published

    Petersburg is published
    Best described as Andrei Bely's masterpiece, the novel was a Symbolist work that was essentially a monument to the Symbolist movement as a whole. The novel would also foreshadow James Joyce's Modernist ambitions.