Symbolism Essay

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In the following essay, Wellek explores the idea of Symbolism as a literary period encompassing much post-Realism Western literature, and focuses on developing an accurate system of definition for it.

The term and concept of symbolism (and symbol) is so vast a topic that it cannot even be sketched within the limits of this paper. The word goes back to ancient Greece and, there, had a complex history which has not, I suspect, been traced adequately in the only history of the term, Max Schlesinger's Geschichte des Symbols, published in 1912.

What I want to discuss is something much more specific: not even symbol and symbolism in literature but the term and concept of symbolism as a period in literary history. It can, I suggest, be conveniently used as a general term for the literature in all Western countries following the decline of nineteenth-century realism and naturalism and preceding...

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This section contains 7,835 words
(approx. 20 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Symbolism Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Symbolism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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