chapter  1
7 Pages

The theory of Symbolism

WithCharles Chadwick

Spelt with a small initial letter the word ‘symbolism’, like the words ‘romanticism’ and ‘classicism’, can have an extremely wide meaning. Symbolism can be finally said to be an attempt to penetrate beyond reality to a world of ideas, either the ideas within the poet, including his emotions, or the Ideas in the Platonic sense that constitute a perfect supernatural world towards which man aspires. Great emphasis is laid on the musical quality of poetry and, because of the wish to achieve a greater flexibility, the regular rhythm of the twelve-syllable alexandrine, for example, and the recurring pattern of conventional rhyme schemes was discarded. As Henri de Regnier further pointed out, because the symbol thus frequently stands alone, with the reader being given little or no indication as to what is being symbolized, Symbolist poetry inevitably has a certain built-in obscurity.