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Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

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Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Ezinma on Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:02 pm

Hello everyone, it's obvious that we're sluggish these days!. Oh! Why? fawda1

I guess we need something to stir us up, we need to analyse and argue. So here I propose this topic where we can discuss and explore literary movements ( Origin, creators, ethos, notable authors influenced and their major works...) and literary terms.
But there're rules, first, we should all participate in the discussion and not read passively. Second all of us have to stick to the term or the movement we're dicussing before moving to another. Third let's be organized and discuss one term or movement per day. The final rule and the most important one, try not to make from this thread a chatbox. madhaa1

Let's discuss together Symbolism. What do you think?
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Ezinma

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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Hush on Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:31 pm

Great! Let's start

to understand Symbolism, the movement, we should understand the meaning of a symbol. A symbol is presenting and representing in a work, i.e it's a mark that is present in the text but refers to something else than the common signifier it has, then we can say it's representing something else.

Now allow make a long quote from a reliable source in order to narrow the discussion to literary symbolism.

" As expressed in Jean Moréas’ manifesto, symbolism was a reaction not only against realism and naturalism, which were based on description, but also against Parnassian poetry, which aimed to cultivate a precise and definitive language. Mallarmé’s Divagations (1897) was another important statement of symbolist aesthetics. Most fundamentally, Mallarmé rejected the idea – on which realism was premised – that language was referential, that words were somehow the signs of a pregiven reality. Reality is an interpretation from a particular perspective, and for Mallarmé, a poem is part of reality and indeed helps to create reality. Mallarmé also rejected the Romantic idea of a poem as expression of an author’s subjectivity; rather, the poet enters the world of language which determines both his consciousness and the world. He drew attention to the material dimensions of words, their sounds, their combinations on the page, the spacing between them, and their ability to create and formulate new shades of meaning and perception. Mallarmé voiced a reaction against the French alexandrine, and urged experimentation with freer verse forms. He also attempted to dissolve the distinction between poetry and prose, as well as between critical and creative writing. The major critic of the symbolist movement was Remy de Gourmont, who urged the ideals of subjectivity and artistic purity. He asserted that “only mediocre works are impersonal”1 and advocated a “pure art” which was “concerned exclusively with self-realization”2 This affirmation of personality in literature was based upon Gourmont’s philosophical dispositions: a staunch subjective idealist, he insisted that idealism found its best formulation in Schopenhauer’s statement that “the world is my representation,” a formula that Gourmont held to be “irrefutable.”3 These statements embody the central philosophical and aesthetic stance of symbolism.

In general, the symbolists refused to take the material world they had inherited as the real world. Drawing on Platonic philosophy, they saw the present world as an imperfect reflection or expression of a higher, infinite, and eternal realm which could be evoked by symbols. Hence they rejected the descriptive language of the realists and naturalists in favor of a more suggestive, symbolic, and allusive language, a language that could evoke states of consciousness and experience. They spurned all forms of discursive language – argument, debate, and narration – and the ideals of logical coherence or accuracy of reference. They also drew on Baudelaire’s notion of “correspondences” between the senses to elaborate an aesthetic of synaesthesia, and their predominant analogy for poetry was with music. French symbolism was introduced into England through Arthur Symons’ book The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899). Symons characterized the later nineteenth century as “the age of science, the age of material things.” He viewed the symbolist movement as a “revolt against exteriority, against rhetoric, against a materialistic tradition.”4 With symbolist poetry, he explained, “comes the turn of the soul . . . a literature in which the visible world is no longer a reality, and the unseen world no longer a dream” (4). Symbolist literature, then, offered a redefinition of reality, which saw the contemporary bourgeois world as but a one-sided material dimension pointing to its own self-transcendence in a higher, spiritual reality. Symons characterized the preceding reign of realism under Flaubert, Taine, and Zola as an age where “words, with that facile elasticity which there is in them, did miracles in the exact representation of everything that visibly existed, exactly as it existed” (4).

Hence symbolism was reacting against not only the reduction of the world to a material dimension but also the correlative reduction of language to a literalness which enshrines the possibility of absolute clarity. Symons quotes Carlyle’s definition of the symbol as possessing a “double significance,” as a locus where “the Infinite is made to blend itself with the Finite” (2–3). Seen in this light, symbolism was an attempt to reinvest language with its powers of ambivalence and mystery, to relieve it of the stultifying burden of representing factitious identity and clear-cut categories. As Symons put it, symbolism “is all an attempt to . . . evade the old bondage of rhetoric, the old bondage of exteriority” .

source: A History of Literary Criticism From Plato to the Present by M. A. R. Habib
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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Ezinma on Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:47 am

Wonderful, thank you for the quote cheers

So mates, how many times you read this question: Explain the symbolism of the title?? morpa1

As Mr. habib's quotation explains, Symbolism is an artistic and poetic movement which originated in the late 19th century, using symbols and indirect suggestions to express mystical ideas, emotions and states of mind. It's a reaction against Realism and Naturalism which aimed to capture reality using a direct plain language. Thus the reader is not allowed to imagine or deduce the meaning behind the words, because language is crude not figurative. However, the symbolist believed that using symbols render language more complexity, charm and sophistication.

Moreover, Symbolists believed that art should aim to capture more absolute truths which could only be accessed by indirect methods. Thus, they wrote in a highly metaphorical and suggestive manner, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning. The Symbolist Manifesto ("Le Symbolisme", Le Figaro, 18 Sept 1886) was published in 1886 by Jean Moréas. Moréas announced that Symbolism was hostile to "plain meanings, declamations, false sentimentality and matter-of-fact description", and that its goal instead was to "clothe the Ideal in a perceptible form" whose "goal was not in itself, but whose sole purpose was to express the Ideal":

"Ainsi, dans cet art, les tableaux de la nature, les actions des humains, tous les phénomènes concrets ne sauraient se manifester eux-mêmes ; ce sont là des apparences sensibles destinées à représenter leurs affinités ésotériques avec des Idées primordiales. **


Let me give you a quotation from A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory in which the writer says: " There's plentiful symbolism in much 19th century French Poetry. In Oeuvres Complètes (1891) Mallarme explained symbolism as the art of evoking an object little by little so as to reveal a mood or the art of choosing an object and extracting from it an état d'ame ( State of Soul). This mood, he contended, was to be extracted by a series or deciphering'. Let's explain the quote, symbolist poems sought to evoke symbols which signify the state of the poet's soul, and those symbols invite the reader to decipher their meaning.
Reference : Wikipedia. A Dictionary of Literary Terms and LiteraryTheory. ConciseOxford Dictionary.

Look mates I'm tired, what do you think if we finish tomorrow? Forget about the rule that says one movement per day (Just this time), and let's carry on with Symbolism tomorrow. ( I think I broke all the rules, isn't this flood? Rolling Eyes
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Ezinma

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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by imy on Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:03 pm

the origin of symbolism:
Late 19thcy,symbolism originated in FRANCE and was part of 19thcy movement in which art becameinfused with mysticism.French symbolism was both a continuation ofthe romantic tradition and a rection to the realistic approach of Impressionism.It served as a catalyst in the outgrowth of the darker sides of romanticism and towards abstraction.
*THE SYMBOLIST MANIFASTO:was published in 1886 in France,by the GREEK poet and essayst "JEAN MOR2AS".It defines and characterizes symbolism as a style whose goal was not in itself but whose soul purpose was to express the ideal."CHARLES BAUDLARE/ SQTEPHANE MOLLARMé"as the leaders of this movement.
DEFINITION OF SYMBOLISM:
the term symbolism means the systimatic use of symboles to express an allegorical meaning.Symbolism is an important element of most religious arts and reading symbols plays a main role in psychoanalysis.Thus, the symbolist painters used these sym boles from mythology and dream imagery for a visual language of the soul.

not so much a style of art,symbolism was more an international ideologicaltrend.Symbolist believed that art should apprehend more absolute truths which could only be accessed indirectly.Thus,they painted scenes from nature,human activities and all other real world phenominun in highly metaphorical and suggestive manner.They provided particular images or objects with esoteric attraction.

symbolism had a significant influence on expression and surrealism,two movements which descend directly from symbolism.
SYMBOLISM IN THE VISUAL ART:
symbolism in literature is distinct from symbolism in art.Although the two overlapped on a number of points.In a painting symbolism was a continuation of some mystical tendencies in the romantic traditions,which included such artists as:"LASPAR DAVID FREDIRICK AND JOHN HENRY FUSELI" and it was even more closely a ligned with the self-consciously dark and private decandant movement.
SYMBOLISM IN PAINTING:
it had an even larger geographical ,reach than symbolism.the symbolist paintrs mind mythology and dream imegery for a visual of the soul,seeking evocative paintings that brought to mind a static world of silence.
i hope it help what i have wrote. euh11
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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Ezinma on Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:25 am

Hello mates,

Thank you Imy for your post!
Let's carry on
In his quotation Mr. Habib said that symbolism is against Parnissian Poetry. So please have a look at this site, you'll find an explanation for Parnassian.
Click here
The article is taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica, if you face a problem use the following log in and password to get in.
Log in : ngrala
Password: 007tamrac.

Let's get back to symbolism and the use of symbols in literary texts. Some writers use conventional symbols in their writings ; which have meanings that are widely recognized by a society or culture. Some conventional symbols are, for instance the Christian cross, the dove which stands for peace...Etc. The use of conventional symbols is to reinforce meanings. For instance, Fitzerald uses the green light in the Great Gatsby to symbolize Jay's hopes and dream for the future and for Daisy.
On the other hand, there are other symbols which are private to the author, it's the reader who deduces and interprets their meaning.

To illustrate with another example , let's take once more symbolism in The Great Gatsby . Fitzerald uses the eyes of Doctor T.J Eckleburg as a symbol.They are " blue and gigantic", "they look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enourmous yellow spectacles"P29-II . The eyes symbolize God staring over 1920s Americans. It came also to represent the moral and spiritual values which had declined with each passing year. Fitzerald write" But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground" P 29-II *
* Edition: Penguin Popular Classics.

I heartily wish another volunteer to carry on the discussion and choose another term!
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Ezinma

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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by w_ch on Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:46 am

In literature, symbolism is used to provide meaning to the writing beyond what is actually being described. The plot and action that take place in a story can be thought of as one level, while the symbolism of certain things in the writing act on another level to enhance the story.

Symbolism can take place by having the theme of a story represented on a physical level. A simple example might be the occurrence of a storm at at critical point, when there is conflict or high emotions. The storm might symbolize these. Similarly a transition from day to night, or spring to winter, could symbolize a move from goodness to evil, or hope to despair. A river in a scene could represent the flow of life, from birth to death. Flowers can symbolize youth or beauty.

Not everything in a story is necessarily symbolic. A garden landscape is just a garden ... until it is contrasted with a bustling city, at which point the garden could symbolize tranquility, peace, or escape.

  • In the novel Animal Farm, the entire story is a symbol for the evils of communism, with the main animal characters representing key figures in the Russian revolution. The novel can be read entirely as a children's story, but when you come to realize what the various elements and characters in the story symbolize, the novel takes on a whole new meaning. That's why this particular work has become such a classic. This kind of story is called an allegory.
  • The movie series Star Wars has been described as symbolic of faith and religion in our world overcoming evil.
  • The song I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack is full of symbolism. The song isn't really about dancing at all ... dancing is a symbol for getting the most out of life. When she sings '"I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance", the mountains symbolize our fears about the future, or obstacles in life we must overcome.
  • The play MacBeth by William Shakespeare uses blood, both real and imagined, as a symbol of guilt, both of MacBeth and Lady MacBeth. Another symbol used in the play is a raven, which usually represents ill fortune.
  • The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling could be seen as containing a lot of symbolism, although there are as many interpretations as there are creatures in the books! (The author isn't saying). One clear example is a commonly used one; the use of a snake to represent evil. It is no coincidence that the symbol of Slytherin House is a serpent.
Using symbolism in a story you write can be as simple as inserting something into the story that symbolizes what's happening in the plot (as in the example of the storm, mentioned above). But while this kind of symbolism is easy to incorporate into your writing, it's not very subtle, and overusing it can turn a good story into a series of way-too-obvious clichés.

A better approach is to plan the symbolism you intend to use ahead of time, so that it becomes an integral part of the writing, instead of an obvious add-in. For example, if you were writing a story about how an old man suffering from a terminal disease lives out the last few months of his life, you might make the setting of your story autumn in a city, where the onset of winter has obvious (and not very pleasant) effects on the surroundings. The cold winds, shortening days, and lowering temperatures all could symbolize the drawing to a close of the man's life.
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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Ezinma on Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:47 am

Hello everyone, I've chosen these two concepts from The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory. I hope you will find them useful as I did.

Alienation:
The term is used widely and in a number of different senses, but always connotes a sense of loss or estrangement. In property law it refers to a transfer or loss of ownership. In psychology the word 'alienation' was used to mean insanity or the loss of mental faculties; in the mid-nineteenth century, 'alienist' replaced the earlier 'mad' doctor' (porter 1987). That usage is now archaic in English, but the equivalent terms still survive in the romance languages (cf. the French aliéné and the Italian alienato)

The modern meaning of 'alienation' derives mainly from the early writings of Marx and especially from his 'Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts'. Marx's theory of alienation owes much to the Hegelian and neo-Hegelian traditions in German philosophy. In The Phenomenology of Mind (1807), Hegel describes the 'unhappy consciousness' typical of philosophical skepticism and as an alienated soul which is conscious of itself as a divided being, or a doubled and contradictory being whose aspirations towards universality have been frustrated.

For Marx, alienation is a characteristic feature of modern capitalism and of Commodity Fetishism* whose devaluation of the human world is proportional to its overvaluation of things. Because he does not own it, the product of the worker's labour appears to take on an alien and threatening life of its own. The labour process is therefore experienced not as a joyful act of creation, but as a loss of reality. The worker who creates the object of labour both loses it and becomes a slave to it, whilst the employer's appropriation of the product is experienced as estrangement and alienation. The alienation of labour estranges human beings from their own bodies, from the natural world and from their potentially universal essence. The abolition of the private ownership of the means of production and of the commodity system is, according to Marx, a prerequisite for the overcoming of alienation and for the emergence of a truly human society.

Commodity Fetishism:
Commodity fetishism is an extreme form of alienation induced by the structures of commodity-exchange in capitalist society. The classic description is to be found in the chapter on ' The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret' in the first volume of Karl Marx's Capital (1867)…According to Marx's analysis; commodity fetishism arises from the twofold nature of the commodity itself. A commodity such as a coat has both a use-value and an exchange-value; it can be worn to provide protection, but it can also be exchanged for another commodity. The exchange itself takes no account of the specific qualities of the coat, or of the quantity of labour (value) that is embodied in its making. Similarly, the wage relationship between capitalist and worker takes no account of their respective social positions or of their social relations. The labour that is exchanged for a wage produces value in the form of a coat, but is treated as though it were an abstract commodity that is equivalent to any other commodity. The social characteristics of human labour thus take on the appearance of objects that appear to exist independently of social relations, whilst the products of labour appear to possess magical properties that bear no relationship to the labour that produces them. The characteristics of labour appear to be the natural properties of objects. A fetish is an object invested with supernatural powers by those who worship it; Marx holds that the commodities that are exchanged in a capitalist economy are invested with similar magical powers and an illusion autonomy.
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Ezinma

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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Hush on Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:21 pm

"Alienation" is one of my favourite cocepts! ( The Hegelian one) Thank you Ezinma
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Hush

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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

Post by Ezinma on Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:32 pm

You're welcome, and yes it's quite interesting Hegel's view of alienation. I like Marx's defintion of alienation too, namely the alienation of the worker because it may lead to madness.
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Re: Discuss Literary Movements, and Literary Terms

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