The Book of Masks - Remy de Gourmont

The Book of Masks

By Remy de Gourmont

  • Release Date: 2019-06-11
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature

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It is difficult to characterize a literary evolution in the hour when the fruits are still uncertain and the very blossoming in the orchard unconsummated. Precocious trees, slow-developing and dubious trees which one would not care, however, to call sterile: the orchard is very diverse and rich, too rich. The thickness of the leaves brings shadow, and the shadow discolors the flowers and dulls the hues of the fruit. We will stroll through this rich, dark orchard and sit down for a moment at the foot of the strongest, fairest, and most agreeable trees. Literary evolutions receive a name when they merit it by importance, necessity and fitness. Quite often, this name has no precise meaning, but is useful in serving as a rallying sign to all who accept it, and as the aiming point for those who attack it. Thus the battle is fought around a purely verbal labarum. What is the meaning of Romanticism? It is easier to feel than to explain it. What is the meaning of Symbolism? Practically nothing, if we adhere to the narrow etymological sense. If we pass beyond, it may mean individualism in literature, liberty in art, abandonment of taught formulas, tendencies towards the new and strange, or even towards the bizarre. It may also mean idealism, a contempt for the social anecdote, anti-naturalism, a propensity to seize only the characteristic details of life, to emphasize only those acts that distinguish one man from another, to strive to achieve essentials; finally, for the poets symbolism seems allied to free verse, that is, to unswathed verse whose young body may frolic at ease, liberated from embarrassments of swaddling clothes and straps.