‘Frequently, right-wing guardians of an elite art protest that the study of a broader visual culture sullies the Parnassian realm through contact with every day.’ Parnassian definition
Denoting a group of French poets of the late 19th century who emphasized strictness of form, named from the anthology Le Parnasse Contemporain (1866)
What is Parnassianism?
The parnasianismo was essentially poetic, pure art promoter and a foreign aestheticism to social or political issues, as opposed to romanticism and realism to naturalism French literary movement.
Its name refers to the Parnassus of Greek mythology, the mountain where the muses resided, and its creators were Théophile Gautier and Leconte de Lisle.
This movement, which emerged around 1850, reached its peak between 1866 and 1876, and was later displaced by other trends, such as symbolism in France or modernism in Latin America.
But before disappearing, it will influence artists from other countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Belgium, England, Poland, Romania, Brazil and other Latin American nations.
In Latin America, Parnassianism influences poets of the stature of the Nicaraguan Rubén Darío, and is one of the sources of modernism. Parnassian definition
Origin of Parnassianism
The movement arises from a reaction against romanticism, on the one hand, and against realism and naturalism that especially dominate the French narrative of the second half of the 19th century.
Parnassianism appears from two works published in 1852: Enamels and Cameos , by Théophile Gautier, and Ancient Poems , by Leconte de Lisle. But the movement takes its name from a later publication, in which the writer Catulle Mendès plays an important role, and the poetic magazine and anthology Le Parnasse Contemporain (1866-1876).
In this publication appear the writers Théophile Gautier, Leconte de Lisle, José María de Heredia, Théodore de Banville, Catulle Mendès and Sully Prudhomme, among others. As well as other poets who later distinguished themselves as symbolists: Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Stéphane Mallarmé.
Importance of Parnassianism
Parnassianism was important for its influence on later movements, such as modernism, which also manifested itself through poetry and was characterized by a narcissistic and aristocratic approach, with an aesthetic renewal of language .
The main contribution of Parnassianism was to consider art for the art itself , and not for the subjectivity that each individual can decode in particular. It did not pursue a utility or did not seek to generate awareness from its manifestation, only to express the beauty and perfection of art itself.
Characteristics of Parnassianism Parnassian definition
It is an essentially poetic movement
Parnassians are interested in exploring new patterns of meter and verse , and they show a renewed interest in forms such as the sonnet . Parnassian definition
Rejection of subjectivism
The Parnassians try to make an objective poetry, impassive and far from a poetic “I”. They reject the lyricism and subjectivity present in romanticism.
They cultivate a descriptive, visual poetry, trying to create a feeling of plasticity with words, to generate a precise, clear image. That is why language takes on great relevance.
Classical themes and oriental mythologies Parnassian definition
In his poems there are present themes of Greco-Roman antiquity and also oriental myths and legends, of peoples and exotic lands. There is a refusal to deal with contemporary issues, poetry for them is not a territory of denunciations nor does it serve as a historical witness.
“The art for the art” Parnassian definition
Parnassians consider that art should not deal with current affairs, social or political issues, and that its main objective should be the perfection of form.
Escape and imagination
There is a continuous search for escape, through the invocation of the classical past, or of dreamy and fantasy themes.
Pessimism as philosophy
They believe that the best of human history is past (classical antiquity) and maintain a pessimistic position, influenced by the thought of Arthur Schopenhauer. Parnassian definition
It is an anti-religious movement
Parnassians are anti-clerical (rejection of clergy people, such as priests) and especially reject Christianity.
Authors and representative works Parnassian definition
Théophille Gautier (Tarbes, 1811-Nueuille-sur-Seine, 1872)
His full name was Pierre Jules Théophille Gautier. Poet, playwright, journalist, novelist, critic and photographer, he is considered the founder of Parnassianism and the forerunner of symbolism. He is the author of an extensive literary work, which includes novels, short stories, poetry, theater, ballets, critical and travel books.
His most important work as a Parnassian is Enamels and Cameos , published in 1852, and which he expanded with new poems in reissues of 1853, 1858, 1863 and 1872.
Leconte de Lisle (Reunion Island, 1818- Voisin-le-Bretonneux, 1894)
His full name was Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle. Poet and Hellenist, together with Gautier, he is considered the founder of Parnassianism, with his work Ancient Poems (1852), in whose preface he established the principles of Parnassianism.
He is also the author of The Way of the Cross (1856), Barbarian Poems (1862), among others, and translated classical Greek texts such as the Iliad and the Odyssey into French .
Catulle Mendès (Bordeaux, 1841-Saint Germain-en-Laye, 1909)
Poet, narrator, essayist and playwright, he is one of the main figures of Parnassianism, in which he promoted publications and gatherings, and of which he published a story.
His collections of poetry include Philoméla (1863), Pagode (1866), Hesperus (1869) and Les braises du cendrier (1900).
José María de Heredia (Santiago de Cuba, 1842-Houdan, 1905)
José-María de Heredia Girard was a Cuban-born French poet and translator. He renewed the form of the sonnet in French poetry, and through his translations contributed to the knowledge of the history of Spanish America in France.
He collected his sonnets, published in the main magazines of the time and in the Parnassian anthologies, in the volume Los trophies (1893). Parnassian definition
Théodore de Banville (Moulins, 1823-Paris, 1891) Parnassian definition
Poet, playwright, novelist and theater critic, he participated as a poet in the Parnassian movement. He is especially remembered for his editorial and literary relationship with the extraordinary young poet Arthur Rimbaud, and was the author of an extensive literary work.
Among his Parnassian collections of poems, Les exilés (1867), Idylles prussiennes (1871) and Petit traité de poésie française (1872) stand out, a collection of poems with which he breaks with symbolism.
Sully Prudhomme (Paris, 1839-Châtenay-Malabry, 1907) Parnassian definition
René François Armand Prudhomme was a poet and essayist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901, published his poems in the three anthologies of Le Parnasse contemporain , declaring his interest in creating an impersonal and scientific lyric.
His poems Stances et poèmes (1865), Les Épreuves (1866), Les Solitudes (1869) and Les Destins (1872) are of a Parnassian character .
François Coppée (Paris, 1842-Paris, 1908)
François Édouard Joachim Coppée, novelist, playwright and poet, made himself known in literature through his Parnassian poems.
His collections of poetry include Le Reliquaire (1867), Intimités (1867) and Poèmes modernes (1869).
Léon Dierx (Saint-Denis, 1838-Paris, 1912) Parnassian definition
A poet born on Reunion Island, he participated in the three anthologies of Le Parnasse contemporain , and was a great friend of Guy de Maupassant. Together with Heredia and Proudhomme, he founded the Society of French Poets in 1902.
Qualified as prince of poets in 1898, his works include Poèmes et poésies (1864), Les Lèvres closes (1867) and Les paroles de vaincu (1871).
Albert Glatigny (Lillebonne, 1839-Sèvres, 1873)
Joseph-Albert-Alexandre Glatigny was an actor, poet and playwright. In Paris he met poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Théodore de Banville, whose mediation made him join Parnassianism.
His poetic work includes the following titles: Les Vignes folles (1860), Les Flèches d’or (1864), Le Fer rouge, nouveaux châtiments (1870) and Gilles et pasquins (1872). Parnassian definition