What are the characteristics of symbolism? Symbolism was a literary artistic movement of the 19th century. Know more!

What is symbolism?

Symbolism was a literary movement born in France at the end of the 19th century. It was marked by pessimism and the subjective view of reality , as opposed to the realism , naturalism and positivism of the time.

Symbolist poetry proposed a rescue of symbols , that is, of a language that understood universality. The poet is, in this case, a decipherer of the symbols that make up the nature around him.

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Origin of symbolism

In the last three decades of the 19th century, Europe was immersed in a deep economic crisis, liberal capitalism emerged, and poverty and social inequality rose unchecked. The positivist ideal and the scientific advances conquered throughout the century were not able to conquer sovereign nations, which ended up culminating, in the following century, in the First World War .

In this environment of disillusionment with reality and with rationality itself, “As Flores do Mal” , a book of poems by Baudelaire (founder of the movement), and the symbolist movement, flourished.

The work was published in 1857, and many of the trends that would later be considered symbolist are present in the history of the movement and were profoundly revolutionary in European literature at the time.

What are the characteristics of symbolism?

Symbolist literature can be regarded as a profoundly pessimistic art . Using fluid, imprecise language , the authors of this movement did not seek to portray the world, but only to suggest it from their subjective views.

Some of the main features of a Symbolist text were:

  • Use of pauses, ellipsis, whitespace and syntactic breaks to represent metaphysical silence;
  • Construction of verses that describe sounds , aromas and colors , as the five senses are instruments for capturing the symbols around them;
  • Interpretation of poetry as a vision of existence;
  • Common presence of antitheses and oppositions;
  • Mysticism is also present in works with a transcendental religious content;

Main Symbolist Authors

In Europe, in Portugal , the authors who gained the most fascination in symbolism, with their respective works, at the time were:

  • Eugenio de Castro

Crystallizations of Death and Sad Hours

  • Camilo Pessanha

Clepsydra

In Brazil , the best-known symbolist authors are:

  • Cruz e Souza

bucklers; headlights; latest sonnets

  • Alphonsus de Guimaraens

burning chamber; Mystical Lady; Beggars

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