Symbolist Journals: A Culture of Correspondence / Edition 1

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Made famous by poets such as Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, the Symbolist movement is one of the most analyzed of literary schools. The many journals which it inspired, however, have often been overlooked by critics. Though infact they represent a crucial forum for cultural exchange and for multifaceted artistic expression.
Pamela Genova explores in detail the intellectual concerns, aesthetic significance and interdisciplinary dialogue which lie at the heart of such Symbolist reviews as La Revue Indépendante, Le Décadent, La Revue Blanche and Le Mercure de France. Beginning with an examination of the evolution and development of Symbolist thought and criticism in the second half of the nineteenth century, Genova moves on to discuss the history of the Symbolist journal and its culmination in la guerre des petites revues.
Along with poetry, two additional art forms in particular preoccupied Symbolist journalism: painting and music. The latter chapters of the book centre on the relationship, often antagonistic, between poetry and these other arts. Genova analyzes the Symbolist interest in artists such as Eduard Manet, the English Pre-Raphaelites and Gustave Moreau. In the realm of music, Richard Wagner proved a powerful figure for the Symbolist poets and critics, provoking widespread debate on the importance of myth and legend in art.
The wide ranging discussion of artistic ideas is one of the aspects of the Symbolist journals which gives them such vital cultural significance in the context of a rapidly changing society. In the pages of these reviews, Genova argues, today's reader can unearth an 'other' nineteenth century; one where writers could test their experimental theories, and the greater artistic freedom offered them enabled fresh and exciting correspondences among the arts to emerge.

Author Biography: Pamela A. Genova, Associate Professor of French, University of Oklahoma, USA

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Editorial Reviews

The 19th century Symbolist movement among French poets has been much studied, but the journals the movement inspired have often been overlooked by critics even though they represent an important forum for cultural exchange and artistic expression. Genova (French, U. of Oklahoma) analyzes the history, theory, and practice of Symbolism as expressed in the literary journal, exploring the provocative, often ironic attitude discernible in many of the journals. She traces the role of the journals in the progressive elucidation of Symbolism as well as their cultural significance in the context of a rapidly changing society. She also explores the publications' depiction of aesthetic expression in fin-de-siecle painting and music. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754600107
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Series: Studies in European Cultural Transition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

General Editors' Preface
Introduction: Evolution of the Critical Aesthetic of Symbolism 1
Prelude: Journalism and Art 31
Pt. 1 The Word: Poetry and Aesthetic Thought
1 The Pre-symbolist Years: Le Fumisme and the Early Periodicals 55
2 Verlaine or Mallarme: Decadence or Symbolisme? 76
3 La Guerre des Petites Revues: Scandals of Theory and Ideology 104
Pt. 2 The Image: Painting and the Visual Arts
4 The Trials of Impressionism 129
5 Symbolist Painting: the Literary Problem 157
6 The Decentralization of Power: Critical Responses to the Salon 191
Pt. 3 The Sound: Music and La Musicalite
7 The Development of a Critical Voice 221
8 The Turbulent Relationship of Symbolism and Music 244
9 The French Response to Richard Wagner 266
Conclusion 291
App. 1 Chronological List of Selected French Reviews 301
App. 2 Selected Pseudonyms of Authors of Fin-de-siecle Journal Articles 304
App. 3 Selected Journal Articles by Fin-de-siecle Authors 306
Bibliography 321
Index 349
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