Original Research

Symbolism in French literature

R. Pack
Literator | Vol 11, No 1 | a794 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v11i1.794 | © 1990 R. Pack | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 May 1990 | Published: 06 May 1990

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R. Pack, Potchefstroom University for C.H.E., South Africa

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Abstract

To talk of Symbolism in French literature may be ambiguous, as two different categories of writers have been grouped under this generic term: the symbolists stricto sensu, such as Moréas or Viélé-Griffin, who were mostly minor poets, and some great figures of French literature. The aim of this article is to show that, although Symbolism as an organized movement did not produce any important contribution, the nineteenth century witnessed indeed the emergence of a new trend, common to several poets who were inclined to do away with the heritage of the classical school. These poets - of whom Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé are the most renowned, although they did not really associate with the symbolist school, created individualistic poetry of the foremost rank.

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