Poe, Mallarme, and Symbolism

From “Mallerme, Stephane, and French Symbolism” by James A. Winders

“Symbolism,” a suspiciously tidy label for a host of complex and contradicotry aesthetic tendencies, yokes together the successive attempts of Baudelaire, Mallarme, Rimbaud, and Verlaine to redefine the poetic task, previously viewed as one of conveying powerful emotional states or of crafting art as an end in itself, as one of forging a separate symbolic reality by means of densely coded subtle sensations perceptible only to a select readership uncompromised by the banality of bourgeois tastes

Mallarme’s symbolism was thoroughly rooted in language. He believed in the pure essence of words and a poetic ideal of such dazzling immediacy that words need serve no referential purpose beyond their placement in the text (623)
favored “impressionistic, contemplative preoccupation with powerful symbols and their effects on consciousness”

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