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Selected Writings

Arthur Symons

Edited by Roger Holdsworth

Cover Picture of Selected Writings
Categories: 19th Century, 20th Century, Welsh
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (100 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2003)
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • My Paris is a land where twilight days
    Merge into violent nights of black and gold;
    Where, it may be, the flower of dawn is cold:
    Ah, but the gold nights, and the scented ways!
        from 'Paris'

    Arthur William Symons (1865-1945) is a haunting poet of the modern city, catching its dangerous, complex beauty in works that first introduced the imagery of the urban underworld into English poetry. He was a champion of the French Symbolists. Yeats, Pound and Eliot acknowledged their debt to him and were influenced by his sense of the city as the essential landscape of modernity. As a poet and critic, in his own right, though, Symons has come into his own in recent years.

    This selection is taken from the full range of Symons' poetry and prose, revealing an experimental writer exploring art, literature and music. Roger Holdsworth's introduction sets Symons in his context as both an 1890s Decadent and a precursor of Modernism.
    Table of Contents


    Further Reading

    Note on the Text


    from Days and Nights (1889)

    The Fisher's Widow

    Scenes de la Vie de Boheme: Episode of a Night of May

    The Street-Singer

    The Opium-Smoker

    from Silhouettes (1892; 2nd ed., 1896)

    At Dieppe

    After Sunset

    On the Beach


    Pastel: Masks and Faces




    On the Heath

    At the Cavour

    In the Haymarket

    The Absinthe-Drinker

    Javanese Dancers

    April Midnight

    During Music


    At Burgos

    For a Picture of Watteau

    from London Nights (1895; 2nd ed., 1897)


    Nora on the Pavement


    Decor de Theatre

    Behind the Scenes: Empire

    The Primrose Dance: Tivoli

    La Melinite: Moulin Rouge

    Autumn Twilight

    Colour Studies

    At Dieppe

    At Glan-y-Wern

    Stella Maris



    White Heliotrope


    Celeste: The Prelude


    Clair de Lune


    Biance: Presages

    Epilogue: Credo

    From Amoris Victima (1897)

    Amoris Exsul


    In the Forest of Arques


    Arques: Night

    Amor Triumphans: The Dance

    From Images of Good and Evil (1899)

    from The Dance of the Daughters of Herodias

    Sould in the Balance: Mater Liliarum


    In Ireland

    By the Pool at the Third Rosses

    In the Wood of Finvara

    Palm Sunday: Naples

    The Last Memory

    From The Loom of Dreams (1901)

    The Loom of Dreams


    From The Fool of the World (1906)

    Time and Beauty


    For a Picture of Rossetti

    The Armenian Dancer

    The Andante of Snakes

    Song of the Sirens

    From Knave of Hearts 1894-1908 (1913)


    Peau d'Espagne

    The Tarot Cards

    From Love's Cruelty (1923)

    Studies in Strange Sins (After Beardsley's Designs): The Woman in the Moon

    For Des Esseintes: Tragic Dawn


    From Theophile Gautier

    Posthumous Coquetry (1889)

    From Paul Verlaine

    Fetes Galantes (1896)





    From Stephane Mallarmé




    From 'The Decadent Movement in Literature' (1893)

    From 'Dancers and Dancing' (1897)

    From ' The World as Ballet' (1898)

    From The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899)

    From 'The Choice' (1900)

    From 'A Paradox on Art' (1900)

    From 'What is Poetry?' (1901)

    From 'Fact in Literature' (1902

    From 'A Prelude to Life' (1905)

    From London: A Book of Aspects (1909)

    From 'Impressionistic Writing' (1923)

    From 'Fantin-Latour and Whistler' (1925)

    From 'Aubrey Beardsley' (1929)

    From 'Unspiritual Adventures in Paris' (1931)

    Arthur Symons
    Arthur Symons was born in Milford Haven in 1865. He lived in London, where he frequented the Rhymers' Club, a group of writers who met at the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street between 1891 and 1894. A friend of Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson and Wilde, he was an important influence on ... read more
    Roger Holdsworth
    Roger Holdsworth lectures in English at the University of Manchester. He has edited plays by Jonson and Middleton, and has been a general editor of the Malone Society. ... read more
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