Symbolism was aliterary movement of nineteenth-century France. In the art and literature
of the late nineteenth century, symbolism took on special significance. A group
of French artists and poets promoted the use of symbols to achieve intensity
and complexity in their work, a technique that sometimes approached mysticism.
The French Symbolists believed that emotions are fleeting, individual, and
essentially inexpressible – and that therefore the writer is forced to suggest
meaning rather than directly express it.