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Saint-Georges de Bouhelier's «Naturisme»

An Anti-Symbolist Movement in Late-Nineteenth-Century French Poetry


Patrick L. Day

At the end of the nineteenth century in France, there arose a literary movement, termed le naturisme by its founder, Saint-Georges de Bouhélier. Anti-symbolist in its conception, le naturisme contained as its tenets a return to clarity and simplicity of expression and a strict avoidance of symbolist hermeticism, characteristic of Mallarmé and others. Bouhélier and his disciples triggered a polemic that raged throughout the final years of the nineteenth century and involved writers such as Emile Zola and André Gide before its demise in the early twentieth century.