Symbolism Representative Authors

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Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

The poetry of Charles Baudelaire was the chief inspiration for the development of Symbolism. His masterpiece, Les fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil), and his important collection of prose poetry Petits poèmes en prose (1868; Little Prose Poems), embody the central ideals of the symbolist movement. Baudelaire was born on April 9, 1821, in Paris, France. As a young man he established himself as a popular critic of art and literature. When he first encountered the short fiction of American writer Edgar Allen Poe in 1847, Baudelaire immediately felt that Poe's literary sensibilities resonated strongly with his own. Thenceforth, he devoted much of his life to translating the works of Poe into French. Through these translations, Poe became an important influence on the later French symbolist poets. In 1848, Baudelaire participated in two major political events in France, the Revolution of 1848 and the June Days rebellion. In 1855, eighteen...

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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.