Unit 2: The French Symbolists: The Fountainhead of Modernism Now that you have a good sense of the conventions and assumptions that the modernists resisted, we will turn our attention to the French Symbolists in this unit. By studying the material in this unit, you will be able to answer questions about the relationship between Anglo-American modern poetry of the 20th century and the French Symbolist poetry of the 19th century. You will be able to distinguish the avant-garde poetic experiments of three of the best known poets of this movement: Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé. You will also be able to recognize how those experiments became the fountainhead of modernism.**
Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 5.5 hours.
☐ Subunit 2.1: 1.5 hours
☐ Subunit 2.2: 1.5 hours
☐ Subunit 2.3: 2.5 hours
Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you should be able to: - define French Symbolism of the late 19th century; - analyze some examples of symbolist poems and poets through close reading; and - identify some of the major features of French Symbolist poetry that carry-over into the modernist poetry at the beginning of the 20th century.
2.1 Concepts of Truth and Elements of Mystery in French Symbolist Poetry - Reading: Poets.org: The Academy of American Poets’ “A Brief Guide to the Symbolists” Link: Poets.org: The Academy of American Poets’ “A Brief Guide to the Symbolists” (HTML)
2.2 Charles Baudelaire, Father of Modern Poetry - Reading: Poem Hunter: Charles Baudelaire’s “Correspondences,” “Invitation to a Voyage,” and “Cats” Link: Poem Hunter: Charles Baudelaire’s “Correspondences” (HTML), “Invitation to a Voyage” (HTML), and “Cats” (HTML)
2.3 Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, and the French Symbolists - Reading: Black Cat Poems: Arthur Rimbaud’s “Dawn,” “Departure,” “Eternity,” and “Sleep” Link: Black Cat Poems: Arthur Rimbaud’s “Dawn” (HTML), “Departure” (HTML), “Eternity” (HTML), and “Sleep” (HTML)
Reading: Angelfire: Stéphane Mallarmé’s “Afternoon of a Faun” Link: Angelfire: Stéphane Mallarmé’s “Afternoon of a Faun” (HTML)
Instructions: Read Mallarmé’s poem, “Afternoon of a Faun.”
As you read, consider the symbols and/or symbolic language that Mallarmé used to engage his readers. Identify the symbols used by Mallarmé, and write down all of the associations that they elicit in your mind.
Reading this poem and completing the activity described above should take approximately 30 minutes.
Unit 2 Assessment
- Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 2 Assessment”
Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 2
Instructions: Consider the essay prompts for this assessment, and craft an essay founded on your readings from this unit. After writing your essay, use the “Rubric for Effectively Written College-Level Essays” (PDF) to self-evaluate your writing.
Tips and Suggestions: If you have an ePortfolio account, then it may be beneficial to upload or link to your essay from the Work Samples section of your profile. In combination with the Study Groups function or the ENGL408 Discussion Forum, using your ePortfolio profile may be a good way to receive peer feedback on your written work. If you do not yet have an ePortfolio account, you can create one here, free of charge.
Completing this assessment should take approximately 3 hours.