First published in 1899, The Symbolist Movement in Literature was a highly influential work of criticism, and served to introduce the French Symbolists to an Anglophone readership. Symons' interest in writers such as Paul Verlaine and Stephane Mallarme puts him at the heart of contemporary debates about Decadence and Symbolism in fin-de-siecle literature; but his work was also a formative influence on modernist writers such as Joyce, Eliot, Pound and Yeats, helping to shape the role of the Image in modernist writing. This new critical edition makes available a key text that has been out of print for over 50 years, and includes the essays that Symons added to the expanded edition of his book in 1919. It also includes an introduction, chronology and notes, together with appendices presenting the full text of Symons' essay 'The Decadent Movement in Literature' and a selection of his translations of poems by Verlaine and Mallarme.
ARTHUR SYMONS was born in Milford Haven in 1865. He lived in London, where he frequented the Rhymers' Club, a group of writers who met at the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street between 1891 and 1894. A friend of Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson and Wilde, he was an important influence on Yeats, with whom he shared lodgings for a time. He contributed to The Yellow Book and became editor of The Savoy. Symons was fluent in French and Italian; his The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899)was influential in introducing French Symbolism to English readers. He was also a translator of Baudelaire and Zola, and a leading critic. Symons died in 1945. MATTHEW CREASY is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. He has published essays and articles on the work of James Joyce, William Empson and Virginia Woolf.