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14 - Realism, Naturalism and Symbolism in France

from IV - Later nineteenth-century developments: Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism and Decadence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2013

M. A. R. Habib
Affiliation:
Rutgers University, New Jersey
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Summary

The proliferation of newspapers in France during the second half of the nineteenth century led to a corresponding explosion in critical writing. Some of the best critics of the period were creative writers, who frequently used their critical articles to explore themes, experiment with techniques or analyse approaches they would use in their own literary productions. An outspoken critique of Realism and Naturalism came from French Symbolism. The Symbolist movement included the poets Jules Laforgue, Henri de Régnier and Gustave Kahn, Huysmans and the dramatist Maurice Maeterlinck. The Symbolists inherited from Baudelaire an overarching concern with poetic form, language and the evocation of subjective states, as well as the notion of synaesthesia between the various senses. A major later theoretical voice of French Symbolism was that of Remy de Gourmont, who entirely rejected the ideals of impersonality and objectivity.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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