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The Symbolist Movement in Literature

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  9 reviews
First published in 1899, The Symbolist Movement in Literature was a highly influential work of criticism, and served to introduce the French Symbolists to an Anglophone readership. Symons’ interest in writers such as Verlaine and Mallarmé puts him at the heart of contemporary debates about Decadence and Symbolism in fin-de-siècle literature; but his work was also a formati ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 26th 2014 by Carcanet (first published 1899)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  68 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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J. Alfred
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good, very interesting in a number of ways. Firstly, probably, you've heard of it because TS Eliot apparently formed his conception of the type of poetry he wanted to write from it. That makes it pretty important in the history of literature.
Secondly, its subject matter, the French literature of the 1800s, is something that you may not know anything about. This, in addition to supplying you with a helpful reminder of the importance of humility, will also serve as a memorable bridge to your
...more
Craig
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gets a little theosophistic at times, but it's easy to see why Eliot and his contemporaries were so enthralled by the first edition of Symons' book. Especially interesting to read a contemporary poet's opinions on Rimbaud just a few years after his death, even if those remarks haven't aged particularly well in the intervening century.
Steven Felicelli
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
one of the least read and most important books in (affecting) literary history
Tiago Filipe Clariano
É um roteiro da literatura simbolista que elege alguns dos nomes cujos projectos poéticos mais contornos deram a esta gaveta de literaturas.

Para explicar o movimento, Symons baseia-se na arbitrariedade linguística estruturalista acabando por justificar que tudo o que é linguagem é símbolo, furando o próprio pé. Enquanto objecto estético, enquanto beco sem saída de toda a linguagem e toda a literatura, o símbolo procede a ser equacionado a obscurantismo, dificultando novamente a compreensão da s
...more
Maxwell Foley
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Really quirky. Symons gives brief outlines of several figures involved in, well, the Symbolist movement in literature, only he seems somewhat disinterested in these authors biographical details, or even discussing the specifics of their works. Instead, he discusses at great length what he believes to be these authors' unique spiritual persuasion - their orientation towards the universe and the divine. There was something thrillingly eccentric about this, though I think if it was any longer it wo ...more
Book Wyrm
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Less the collection of essays I imagined and more a series of love letters to Symbolist writers, Symons writes eloquently and at times unbearably passionately, particularly about Joris-Karl Huysman and Paul 'wife and lover abandoning drunkard' Verlaine.
Symon's writing is beautiful and I've already crafted my 'to read' list from his praising reccomendations.
It's surprisingly amusing in places. Watching (1908) Symons' linguistic acrobatics as he's forced, for the sake of clarity and fact, to allu
...more
Micha
Another bit of essential reading for my thesis, but not the kind of thing I'd stick out for miscellany. Does make me think how lucky I am that so much of my prospectus book list is stuff I genuinely care about and would read even if I didn't have to write dozens of pages about.
Manuel
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Born in Milford Haven, Wales, of Cornish parents, Symons was educated privately, spending much of his time in France and Italy. In 1884–1886 he edited four of Bernard Quaritch's Shakespeare Quarto Facsimiles, and in 1888–1889 seven plays of the "Henry Irving" Shakespeare. He became a member of the staff of the Athenaeum in 1891, and of the Saturday Review in 1894, but his major editorial feat was ...more
“Vaguely conscious of that great suspense in which we live, we find our escape from its sterile, annihilating reality in many dreams, in religion, passion, art.” 8 likes
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