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Moreas, Jean

MOREAS, JEAN (1856-1910), French poet, born at Athens on the 15th of April 1856, was the grandson of Papadiomontopoulos, one cf the heroes of Missolonghi. He was one of the leaders of the symbolist movement in French poetry, advocating a relaxation of the stringent rules governing French verse; but his early volumes of poems, Les Syrles (1884), Les Cantilenes (1886), and Le Pelerin passionne (1891) won recognition beyond the limits of this school. In the XIX' siecle (August n, 1885) he formulated the principles of the symbolists, defending them from the appellation of " decadent," and in the literary supplement of the Figaro (Sep 18, 1886) he published a manifesto justifying the innovations of the new school as the natural development of the prosody of Baudelaire, Mallarme and Verlaine. Le Pelerin passionne was sympathetically reviewed by Anatole France. As time went on he repudiated the licence claimed by the symbolists, and became the leader of an offshoot from the main body known as the ecole romane, the chief members of which are Raymond de la Tailhede, Maurice du Plessys, Ernest Raynaud, and the critic Charles Maurras. Moreas and his new followers returned to the traditional severity of French versification, and to the classical and antique tradition. His later volumes are Poesies, 1886-1896 (1898), and Stances (6 vols., complete ed. 1905), Histoire de Jean de Paris, roi de France (1902), Voyage en Grece en i8gj (1902), Conies de la itieille France (1903), and a classic drama in verse, Iphigenie a Aulis (1904), in close imitation of Euripides, which was represented on the 24th of August 1903 in the ancient theatre of Orange, and subsequently at the Odeon in Paris. He died on the 31st of March 1910.

See Anatole France, La Vie litteraire (4th ser., 1892); A. van Bever and P. Leautaud, Poetes d'aujourd'hui, 1880-1900 (nth ed., 1905); P. Berthelot, art. " Symbolisme " in La Grande encyclopedic ; and J. de Gourmont, Jean Moreas, biographie critique (1905).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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