The inter-relations of the three schools of French poetry in the nineteenth century
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There have been three schools of poetry in France since the beginning of the nineteenth century. They are the Romantic, the Parnassian/and the Symbolistic. These are the schools which have made of their century in France, "the Golden Age" of poetry, and this, because we see in them the culmination of the best of all the work of past ages. It is true that they stand for different conceptions of the essence of poetry and of the methods of verse making; but, even so, they are not chance manifestations. They resemble one another in some points; they vary in others; they have contacts; we may even say they have, in a sense, a common source of inspiration and a common interpretation of poetry. All three schools have developed under the influence of a small but exact set of principles. Evolution, including both Darwin's theory which accounts for development through gradual and almost indiscernible changes, and De Vries' theory which tries to explain that evolution takes place by sudden transformations, affects all things. Since forms of art are not fixed, and since it is evident that there is a tendency for like to create like in the literary world, the use of the theory of Evolution, instead of altering conditions, merely serves to make more apparent the facts of development. In this essay the author tries to show that the ideas implied by the theories of evolution when used as a philosophy of literary growth by application to the development of nineteenth and twentieth century French poetry, render the understanding of that poetry more coherent, and make clearer the mutual responsibilities which must have characterized the work of men laboring as neighbors, at the same time and in the same field.
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