Litkicks Message Board Archive

Fin de siècle en France

Posted to WritersAndGenres

This a very intricate problem. In the years 1880, many young writers reacted against what official literature had become; they read or thought they were reading in Baudelaire and Poe new elements for a modern art; and beside all these manifestos, some of them managed to create a new art and poetry. They reacted against committed literature: either Zola's witless confidence in Science, or Déroulède's stupid patriotic poems, or the rising "social-realistic" novel. They used Baudelaire and Poe to enhance the role of the Mind and the Soul against materialism and mass-art of the new democracy. Finally, some of these artists managed to find their own language by "divorcing" from an ever more conservative public, either from the nationalist Right or from the Socialist-Marxist left. Of course, all these comments often repeat themselves. Hope it's clearer now! HB