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Arthur Symons, Critic Among Critics F 90 365. Fletcher, Ian. “Decadence and the Little Magazines.” Decadence and the 1890s. Ian Fletcher, assoc. ed. London: Edward Arnold, 1979. 173–202. “The Savoy (1895–96) … was an essentially Anglo-French enterprise, planned in Dieppe; for, in the later summer of 1895, England was no place to organize an ‘advanced’ periodical.… The context also explains Symons’s defensive preface: the periodical would not be ‘realist,’ ‘naturalist’ or ‘decadent,’ it lamely judged that ‘all art is good, which is good art,’ regardless of school. So, no originality for originality’s sake; or audacity for the sake of advertisement; indeed there were no advertisements at all. Nonetheless, the Savoy still represented an attempt to conquer the ‘open,’ the commercial world for ‘advanced’ art. Symons claimed, too, that he would not stud the Savoy with names” (196–97). “[B]y 1895, when his close friendship with W. B.Yeats began, Symons revised his attitude to symbolism . It now struck him as a synthesis of decadent pessimism and submission to the Zeitgeist and impressionist cult of the moment; between a demonic nature and one subject to supersensuous illumination” (198). [Also published New York: Holmes & Meier, 1980.] 366. Fletcher, Ian. “Explorations and Recoveries—II: Symons, Yeats and the Demonic Dance.” London Magazine 7 (June 1960): 46–60. The Symbolist Movement in Literature had a formative effect on Yeats and Eliot: “it underlies Yeats’s Ideas of Good and Evil (1903)” and it brought Eliot to imitate AS’s quasi-symbolist and impressionistic verse.Through AS Eliot discovered Laforgue. In literary history, AS bridges the gap in English poetry between late Pre-Raphaelitism and early Imagism. He wrote at least one poem (“Scenes de la Vie Boheme”) which “owes a great deal to the manner of procedure of Laforgue.” His body of poetry traces a movement from naturalism “through a poetic equivalent of French impressionism in painting to something that faintly begins to suggest the Imagism of Hulme and the Ezra Pound of Lustra.” In his relationship to Yeats, their dialogue is not restricted, as Yeats suggests in his Autobiographies, to an exchange of critical doctrines and attitudes, but it also affects their poetry. The main source of Yeats’s preoccupation with the dance image can be traced to AS’s “The Dance of Herodias.” In imitation of Donne, AS attempts, without much success, to write with sexual frankness and conversational ease in his love sonnets. [Fletcher isolates the tensions expressed in AS’s verse, tracing them to the influences affecting his poetry.] There is a tension between revivalism and impressionism and between Zola’s naturalism and Yeatsian occultism. In Days and Nights, Browning’s imprint is clear; in Silhouettes, Pater’s impressionistic evocation of the scene is imitated; in London Nights, it is the music-halls, the dancers , and AS’s search for identity that offer AS his subject. In Images of Good and Evil the dancers are transfigured, and dance as spectacle (see “Javanese Dancers ”) becomes dance as quasi-religious ritual. In AS’s poetry, the dancer is always distinguished from the dance; inYeats’s verse the two are fused.The poetry of the 1890s does not belong to a self-enclosed period, but rather it is part of a literary continuum. [One of the best close studies of AS’s poetry, and particularly of the dance imagery, to date (1960). He is now considered as one of the best authorities on the 1890s.] (Stern) [Reprinted with revisions in Ian Fletcher, W . B.Yeats and His Contemporaries (NewYork : St. Martin’s P, 1987) 252–66.] An Annotated Bibliography F 91 367. Fletcher, Ian. “Foreword.” AmorisVictima (1897); AmorisVictimia (1940). Arthur Symons. NewYork: Garland, 1984. v–xi. Amoris Victima, while beneath Silhouettes and London Nights in quality, is primarily biographical in nature as it describes AS’s three-year relationship with the dancer known as Lydia. This biographical slant may be the reason that the two different editions differ only slightly. Underneath the poems we can see AS’s dramatization and mythologizing of Lydia which she seems to have accepted, desired, and returned. In addition,Yeats, who shared rooms with AS and had love affairs of his own, shows similarities to AS’s verse in the use of Christian theology to describe the sexual tension and struggling love affair. In the end, Lydia married an older gentleman with money and perhaps Amoris Victima documents a “psychological” breakdown in 1896, from which he recovered, but that preceded the more visible and...


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