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The Symbolists . Laurice P, Bryan M, Tiffany W. The Symbolist Movement.

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the symbolists

The Symbolists

Laurice P, Bryan M, Tiffany W

the symbolist movement
The Symbolist Movement
  • The Symbolist movement emerged from France in the mid nineteenth century based on shared ideas between artists and literary figures. The ideas shared between these two involved the rejection of realism and naturalism. The symbolists saw art as being subjective, ambiguous, and mysterious, and instead of looking outward into the world for their subject matter, it came from their emotions, dreams, and spiritual psyche.
  • The qualities of symbolism in poetry include free verse, symbolic imagery. Poets sought to identify and confound the reader’s sense of sound and color.
common symbolist techniques
Common Symbolist Techniques

Symbolist symbols are not allegories, intended to represent; they are instead intended to evoke particular states of mind.

Synesthesia- used to refer to artistic and poetic devices which attempt to express a linkage between the senses. 

Free verse- is a form of poetry that does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern. It thus tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech.

arthur symons 1865 1945
Arthur Symons 1865-1945

He was considered a leader of the symbolist movement by interpreting French symbolist poetry in to English and making his own symbolist poems.

He wrote, and translated over 120 poems including White Heliotrope, A Winters Night, and As a Perfume.

His writing style reflects French symbolism in the subject-matter and style of his poems, with their eroticism and their vividness in description.

white heliotrope
White heliotrope

The feverish room and that white bed,The tumbled skirts upon a chair,The novel flung half-open, whereHat, hair-pins, puffs, and paints are spread;The mirror that has sucked your faceInto its secret deep of deeps,And there mysteriously keepsForgotten memories of grace;And you half dressed and half awake,Your slant eyes strangely watching me,And I, who watch you drowsily,With eyes that, having slept not, ache;This (need one dread? nay, dare one hope?)Will rise, a ghost of memory, ifEver again my handkerchiefIs scented with White Heliotrope.


One of famous quotes include, "A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”

Arthur contributed greatly to the symbolist movement by contributing poems and essays to the yellow book, allowing others to read and enjoy translated symbolist poems from other countries.

edgar allan poe 1809 1849
Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849

Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Symbolist Movement.

Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television.


Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

a dream within a dream
A dream within a dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!And, in parting from you now,Thus much let me avow-You are not wrong, who deemThat my days have been a dream;Yet if hope has flown awayIn a night, or in a day,In a vision, or in none,Is it therefore the less gone?All that we see or seemIs but a dream within a dream.I stand amid the roarOf a surf-tormented shore,And I hold within my handGrains of the golden sand-How few! yet how they creepThrough my fingers to the deep,While I weep- while I weep!O God! can I not graspThem with a tighter clasp?O God! can I not saveOne from the pitiless wave?Is all that we see or seemBut a dream within a dream? 

renee vivien 1877 1909
Renee Vivien (1877-1909)

A British poet who wrote in the French language.

 She took to heart all the mannerisms of Symbolism, as one of the last poets to claim allegiance to the school.

Her compositions include sonnets, hendecasyllabic verse, and prose poetry.

She lived lavishly, as an open lesbian, and carried on a well-known affair with American heiress and writer Natalie Clifford Barney

She later died of suicide resulting from alcoholism, drug abuse and anorexia.

roses rising
Roses rising

My brunette with the golden eyes, your ivory body, your amberHas left bright reflections in the roomAbove the garden.The clear midnight sky, under my closed lids,Still shines....I am drunk from so many rosesRedder than wine.Leaving their garden, the roses have followed....I drink their brief breath, I breathe their life.All of them are here.It\'s a miracle....The stars have risen,Hastily, across the wide windowsWhere the melted gold pours.Now, among the roses and the stars,You, here in my room, loosening your robe,And your nakedness glistensYour unspeakable gaze rests on my eyes....Without stars and without flowers, I dream the impossibleIn the cold night. 

ap prompts
AP Prompts

1.) Create your own symbolist poem by using the concept of rejection of realism and naturalism.

2.) In “Roses Rising”, identify the symbolic nature of roses in the poem.