Je me mire et me vois ange! Et je meurs, et j'aime
- Que la vitre soit l'art, soit la mysticit? -
A rena?tre, portant mon r?ve en diad?me,
Au ciel ant?rieur o? fleurit la Beaut?!
("I marvel at myself, I seem an angel! and I die, andI love --- whether the glass might be art, or mysticism --- to be reborn, bearing my dream as a diadem, under that former sky where Beauty once flourished.")
The Symbolist movement has frequently been confused with Decadence. Several young writers were derisively referred to in the press as "decadent" in the mid 1880s. Jean Mor?as' manifesto was largely a response to this polemic. A few of these writers embraced the term while most avoided it. Although the esthetics of Symbolism and Decadence can be seen as overlapping in som e areas, the two remain distinct.
A number of important literary publications were founded by Symbolists or became associated with the movement; the first was La Vogue founded in April 1886. In October of that same year, Jean Mor?as, Gustave Kahn, and Paul Adam began Le Symboliste. One of the most important Symbolist journals was Le Mercure de France, edited by Alfred Vallette, which succeeded La Pl?iade; founded in 1890, this periodical lasted until 1965. Pierre Lou?s founded La conque, a periodical whose Symbolist leanings were alluded to by Jorge Luis Borges in his story Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote. Other Symbolist literary magazines included La Revue blanche, La Revue wagn?rienne, La Plume and La Wallonie.
R?my de Gourmont and F?lix F?n?on were literary crit ics associated with the Symbolist movement. Drama by Symbolist authors formed an important part of the repertoire of the Th??tre de l'?uvre and the Th??tre des Arts.
The Symbolist and Decadent literary movements were satirized in a book of poetry called Les D?liquescences d'Ador? Floupette, published in 1885 by Henri Beauclair and Gabriel Vicaire. 
In other media
In the visual arts
Fernand Khnopff's The Caress
Symbolism in literature is distinct from Symbolism in art although the two overlapped on a number of points. In painting, Symbolism was a continuation of some mystical tendencies in the Romantic tradition, which included such artists as Caspar David Friedrich, Fernand Khnopff and John Henry Fuseli and it was even more closely aligned with the self-consciously dark and private movement of Decadence.
There were several, rather dissimilar, groups of Symbolist painters and visual artists, among whom Gustave Moreau, Odilon Redon, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edvard Munch, F?licien Rops, and Jan Toorop were numbered. Symbolism in painting had an even larger geographical reach than Symbolism in poetry, reaching several Russian artists, as well as figures such as Elihu Vedder in the United States. Auguste Rodin is sometimes considered a Symbolist in sculpture.
The Symbolist painters mined mythology and dream imagery for a visual language of the soul, seeking evocative paintings that brought to mind a static world of silence. The symbols used in Symbolism are not the familiar emblems of mainstream iconography but intensely personal, private, obscure and ambiguous references. More a philosophy than an actual style of art, the Symbolist painters influenced the contemporary Art Nouveau movement and Les Nabis. In their exploration of dreamlike subjects they are also precursors of the Surrealists; Bernard Delvaille has described Ren? Magritte's surrealism as "Symbolism plus Freud".
Symbolism had some influence in music as well. Many Symbolist writers and critics were early enthusiasts for the music of Richard Wagner, a fellow student of Schopenhauer.
The Symbolist aesthetic had a deep impact on the works of Claude Debussy. His choices of libretti, texts, and themes come almost exclusively from the Symbolist canon: in particular, compositions such as his settings of Cinq po?mes de Baudelaire, various art songs on poems by Verlaine, the opera Pell?as et M?lisande with a libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck, and his unfinished sketches that illustrate two Poe stories, The Devil in the Belfry and The Fall of the House of Usher, all indicate that Debussy was profoundly influenced by Symbolist themes and tastes. His best known work, the Pr?lude ? l'apr?s-midi d'un faune, was inspired by a poem by Mallarm?, L'apr?s-midi d'un fau ne.
Aleksandr Scriabin's compositions are also influenced by the Symbolist aesthetic. Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire takes its text from German translations of the Symbolist poems by Albert Giraud, showing a link between German expressionism and Symbolism.
Je veux boire des poisons, me perdre
dans les vapeurs, dans les r?ves!
"I want to drink poisons, to lose myself
in mists, in dreams!"
Diana, in The Temptation of Saint Anthony
by Gustave Flaubert.
Symbolism's cult of the static and hieratic adapted less well to narrative fiction than it did to poetry. Joris-Karl Huysmans' 1884 novel ? rebours (English title: Against the Grain) contained many themes which became associated with the Symbolist esthetic. This novel in which very little happens is a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive antihero. The novel was imitated by Oscar Wilde in several passages of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Paul Adam was the most prolific and most representative author of Symbolist novels. Les Demoiselles Goubert co-written with Jean Mor?as in 1886 is an important transitional work between Naturalism and Symbolism. Few Symbolists used this form. One exception is Gustave Kahn who published Le Roi fou in 1896. Other fiction that is sometimes considered Symbolist is the cynical misanthropic (and especially, misogynistic) tales of Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly. Gabriele d'Annunzio wrote his first novels in the Symbolist vein.
The same emphasis on an internal life of dreams and fantasies have made Symbolist theatre difficult to reconcile with more recent tastes and trends. Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's drama Axel (rev. ed. 1890) is a definitive Symbolist play; in it, two Rosicrucian aristocrats fall in love while trying to kill each other, only to agree to mutually commit suicide because nothing in life could equal their fantasies. From this play, Edmund Wilson took the title Axel's Castle for his influential study of the Symbolist