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Symbolism and Decadence in Fin-de-siècle Paris

Module Code: FR262
Module Name: Symbolism and Decadence in Fin-de-siècle Paris
Module Credits: 15

From the 1880’s until after the first decade of the 20th century, the Symbolist and Decadent writers embodied aesthetical reactions against the contemporary times as well as they defended the prevalence of the individual against the group and the society. By leaning on theoretical lectures and text-reading seminars, this module will invite the students:
- to understand the literary life of the period by exploring how Symbolist and Decadent writers played an active role within many different cultural places (cabarets, cafés, salons and literary journals);
- to develop their abilities to interpret specific issues related to Symbolist and Decadent texts (including notably works by Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé or Joris-Karl Huysmans);
- to approach the different genres invested by these writers (poetry, novels, short stories, tales, shadow plays…);
- to observe connections between literary and aesthetical values, literary life and society.

Primary Texts

Joris-Karl Huysmans, À rebours
Stéphane Mallarmé, Poésies
Arthur Rimbaud, Les Illuminations
Jules Laforgue, Moralités légendaires
Georges Rodenbach, Bruges-la-Morte

Assessment Method:

50% - Assessed work (one essay of between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length)
50% - Formal examination
100% - One 4,000-4,500 word essay