Selected Early Poems

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    • Abstract:
      Arthur Symons (1865–1945) was a central figure in the decadent phase of English poetry of the 1890s. His early verse, notably in the major collections Silhouettes (1892; revd 1896) and London Nights (1895; revd 1897), created a sophisticated new kind of urban poetry out of the gas-lit world of London theatre and night-life. Under the French influences of Baudelaire and Verlaine, Symons developed a wistful poetic eroticism new to English readers, leading the way to the modernism of T. S. Eliot and others in the next generation. This selection from Symons's most fertile period as a poet reproduces the fuller revised editions of Silhouettes and London Nights in their entirety, together with related poems from his other early volumes, Days and Nights (1889), Amoris Victima (1897), Images of Good and Evil (1900), and with early poems collected in Knave of Hearts (1913). Fully annotated and supplemented by related critical writings by Symons, Walter Pater, and others, this text offers students of late-Victorian literature a rich resource for the understanding of decadence in the London literary scene of the 1890s.
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