Friday, January 2, 2009

Anarcho-Symbolist Generation (1864-73)

Neither Anarchism nor Symbolism was invented by this generation. Pierre Joseph Proudhon, the first person ever to call himself an anarchist, died just as the earliest members of this generation were being born. And the original French Symbolist litterateurs (Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine, Remy de Gourmont, Paul Adam, Alfred Vallette, Félix Fénéon) as well as other pioneers of the movement (Jean Moréas, Gustave Kahn), were all older, too. But in this generation, these unrelated movements were synthesized.

Notable anarchist members of this generation — including Mahatma Gandhi, Gustav Landauer, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Voltairine de Cleyre, Gaetano Bresci, Rudolf Rocker, Leon Czolgosz, Shūsui Kōtoku, Émile Henry, Sante Geronimo Caserio, Michele Angiolillo, Luigi Lucheni, Alexandros Schinas, and Ricardo Flores Magón, plus honorary Anarcho-Symbolist Gabriele D'Annunzio — ranged from (often violent) radicals to reformers, and from staunch individualists to anarcho-syndicalists to anarcho-communists. But they tended to agree that human beings are capable of rationally governing themselves in a peaceful, cooperative, productive manner — and that government, exploitative owners of the means of production, despotic teachers, and domineering parents are all part of the problem.

If anarchism was the ne plus ultra of Enlightenment political tendencies, the late-Romantic literary movement known as Symbolism was a quasi-occult mode of knowledge deliberately opposed to the positivism of the period. In his 1899 book The Symbolist Movement in Literature, which introduced French Symbolism — Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarmé — to the English-speaking world, Arthur Symons calls symbolism "a form of expression... for an unseen reality apprehended by the consciousness." And in a 1900 essay, William Butler Yeats derided the realist trend ("scientific movement") in literature and praised instead the symbolist tendency, because it "call[s] down among us certain disembodied powers, whose footsteps over our hearts we call emotions." The artist, in this philosophy, is a hierophant communing with the occult truths hidden by the "veil" (a favorite term of Symbolists) called reality.

Notable Symbolists of the 1864-73 cohort include: Symons, Yeats, Paul Valéry, Henri de Régnier, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Vyacheslav Ivanov, John Gray, Ernest Dowson, Zinaida Gippius, André Gide, Tadeusz Miciński, and Valery Bryusov. Plus: Edvard Munch.

I thought I'd coined the term "Anarcho-Symbolist" (a play on anarcho-syndicalism), only to discover that I must have encountered it first in Roger Shattuck's The Banquet Years, which describes the heyday (1885-1918) of the 1864-73 cohort. Shattuck employs the term to describe certain proto-Situationist tendencies originating in fin de siècle and early 20th-century Paris, where outsider anti-political and literary anarchists and nihilists declared that "the style of one's life and one's art took precedence over their content, the act of rebellion over the cause." The French Symbolists Mallarmé and Verlaine, for example, were attracted to anarchism, not so much as a political movement but as a style-of-life insurrection.

At the dawn of the 20th century, some members of this generation fiercely desired to rewrite the unwritten political, economic, and cultural rules that governed everyday life; other members, however, desired just as vehemently to defend the status quo. In SF written by members of this cohort, we find these contradictory tendencies — subversive and reactionary, if you will — cheek by jowl. Often in the very same works.


I've identified the following 19th- and 20th-century European and American generational cohorts, each of which gave us important Radium-Age SF authors: Prometheans (1844-53) | Plutonians (1854-63) | Anarcho-Symbolists (1864-73) | Psychonauts (1874-83) | New Kids (1884-93) | Hardboileds (1894-1903) | Partisans (1904-13). I've also reinvented more recent generational cohorts: New Gods (1914-23) | Postmoderns (1924-33) | Anti-Anti-Utopians (1934-43) | Baby Boomers (1944-53) | OGXers (Original Generation X) (1954-63) | PCers (1964-73) | Netters (1974-83) | Millennials (1984-93)


Science-Fiction authors:

* Gustave Le Rouge (La Conspiration des Milliardaires, Le Prisonnier de la Planète Mars, La Guerre des Vampires)
* Maurice Leblanc (The Three Eyes, The Tremendous Event)
* M.P. Shiel (The Purple Cloud, "The Future Day")
* W.E.B. DuBois ("The Comet")
* Gaston Leroux (The Machine to Kill)
* Rudyard Kipling (With the Night Mail, A Diversity of Creatures, "as Easy as A.B.C.")
* H.G. Wells (Radium-Age SF includes: The Food of the Gods, In the Days of the Comet, The War in the Air, The World Set Free, Men Like Gods)
* Archibald Marshall (Upsidonia)
* H.H. Munro (Saki) (The Chronicles of Clovis, When William Came)
* Howard R. Garis (wrote Tom Swift series as Victor Appleton)
* Samuel Hopkins Adams (The Flying Death)
* Alfred Jarry ("How to Construct a Time Machine")
* Hilaire Belloc (Mr. Petre, But Soft — We Are Observed!)
* Ford Madox Ford (The Inheritors, with Joseph Conrad)
* Booth Tarkington ("The Veiled Feminists of Atlantis")
* John Stewart Barney (L.P.M.: The End of the Great War)
* Stephen Leacock ("The Iron Man and the Tin Woman," The Hohenzollerns in America)
* A.E. (George William Russell, The Avatars)
* Robert W. Chambers (Police!!!)

Note: J. D. Beresford (1874, Goslings, The Hampdenshire Wonder)is an honorary Psychonaut; so is Luis P. Senarens (1863, "Frank Reade, Jr., and His Steam Wonder," et al).


* G.K. Chesterton (The Napoleon of Notting Hill); Chesterton (1874) is an honorary Anarcho-Symbolist


Meet the Anarcho-Symbolists.

1864: Henri de Régnier (one of the foremost French symbolists in the early 20th century), George Washington Carver (Inventor), Camille Claudel (French sculptor, mistress of Rodin), Thomas Dixon (Author, The Clansman), Maurice Leblanc (Novelist, creator of Arsène Lupin), Walther Nernst (Chemist, Third Law of Thermodynamics), Alfred Stieglitz (Photo-Secessionist), Richard Strauss (Composer, Also sprach Zarathustra), Miguel de Unamuno (Philosopher), Frank Wedekind (German expressionist playwright avant la lettre). Honorary Plutonians: John Jacob Astor (Philanthropist, died aboard the Titanic), Jim Beam (Bourbon baron), Nellie Bly (Journalist, Ten Days in a Mad-House), Max Weber (Sociologist, The Protestant Ethic), Wilhelm Wien (Physicist, Blackbody radiation), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Post-Impressionist painter).

1865: Irving Babbitt (Philosopher), King George V (King of England, 1910-1936), Frederic W. Goudy (designer of Garamond and Goudy fonts), Warren G. Harding (29th US President, 1921-23), Rudyard Kipling (Author, The Jungle Book), Jean Sibelius (Composer, The Swan of Tuonela), Arthur Symons (English symbolist poet), William Butler Yeats (Anglo-Irish symbolist), Dmitry Merezhkovsky (one of the earliest and most eminent ideologues of Russian Symbolism), M. P. Shiel (author, SF, decadent), Robert W. Chambers (American author, best-known for fantasy).

1866: H. G. Wells (Author, The War of the Worlds), Vyacheslav Ivanov (Russian symbolist), Sun Yat-sen (President of China, 1911-12), Beatrix Potter (Author-Artist),Wassily Kandinsky (Abstractionist and theorist), Erik Satie (Composer), Lincoln Steffens (early muckraking journalist), Butch Cassidy (train and bank robber), Ramsay MacDonald (first Labour Prime Minister of UK), Matthew Henson (Explorer, possibly first to reach North Pole), Voltairine de Cleyre (Anarchist without an adjective, author of The Gods and the People, The Worm Turns, Anarchism, Direct Action), Benedetto Croce (Italian anti-Catholic and anti-Communist philosopher, multi-volume Philosophy of the Spirit), Anne Sullivan (Educator, The Miracle Worker), George Barr McCutcheon (Novelist, Brewster's Millions), Ernest W. Brown (Astronomer, Tables of the Motion of the Moon), Sophonisba Breckinridge (Suffragette and abolitionist), Aby Warburg (Scholar), John Gray (English symbolist translator), Archibald Marshall (English novelist, publisher).

1867: Maximilian (Emperor of Mexico, 1864-67), Frank Lloyd Wright (America's most famous architect), Luigi Pirandello (Playwright), A.E. (George William Russell, Irish nationalist, writer, poet, painter), Gustave Le Rouge (French SF author), Cy Young (Baseball pitcher), Marie Curie (early nuclear chemist), Arturo Toscanini (virtuoso conductor), Molly Brown (Activist, unsinkable), Ernest Dowson (English Decadent poet), Edith Hamilton (Educator, The Greek Way), Carl Laemmle (Film/TV Producer), J. P. Morgan, Jr. (banking magnate), Arthur Rackham (British Golden Age children's book illustrator), Sakichi Toyoda (founder of Toyota Industries Corporation), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Author, Little House on the Prairie), Wilbur Wright (co-inventor of the airplane), Ernest Dowson (English symbolist and decadent).

1868: W. E. B. Du Bois (American philosopher, sociologist, prophetic Marxist, architect of civil rights and Black Pride), Dietrich Eckart (Nazi intellectual), Harvey Firestone (rubber tire baron), Gaston Leroux (French mystery, SF author), Alfred Fowler (Astronomer, celestial spectroscopy), Stefan George (Poet), Maxim Gorky (Playwright), George Ellery Hale (Astronomer), Felix Hoffmann (Chemist, aspirin and heroin), Scott Joplin (the King of Ragtime), Robert A. Millikan (Physicist, determined the charge of an electron), Tsar Nicholas II (last of the Russian Tsars), Eleanor H. Porter (Novelist, Pollyanna), Theodore W. Richards (Chemist, proved existence of isotopes), Edmond Rostand (Playwright, Cyrano de Bergerac), The Sundance Kid (Criminal), John Townsend (Mathematician, electron's charge), John Stewart Barney (minor SF author).

1869: Mahatma Gandhi (Activist, proselytizer of nonviolence, spiritual leader, anarchist), Emma Goldman (Anarchist and feminist libertarian), Zinaida Gippius (Russian symbolist), Neville Chamberlain (architect of appeasement), Herbert Croly (Author, The Promise of American Life), André Gide (Author, symbolist, Le Voyage d'Urien), Bill Haywood (Labor leader, Industrial Workers of the World), Typhoid Mary (notorious typhoid carrier), Stephen Leacock (Canadian political economist, humorist), Edgar Lee Masters (Poet), Henri Matisse (free, expressive French painter), Ernest Fox Nichols (Physicist, infrared radiation), Edwin Arlington Robinson (Poet), Booth Tarkington (Novelist, The Magnificent Ambersons), Gaetano Bresci (Italian-American anarchist, assassin of Italian King Umberto I).

1870: Alexander Berkman (Russian-American anarchist, A.B.C. of Anarchism, attempted to assassinate Frick), Gustav Landauer (German Anarchist), Arthur Fisher Bentley (American jounralist, activist, scholar, pioneer in the study of group behavior), Alfred Adler (founder of Individual Psychology), Pierre Louÿs (French poet), Bernard M. Baruch (coined the term Cold War), (Joseph) Hilaire (Pierre Rene) Belloc (Author, The Bad Child's Book of Beasts), A. P. Giannini (founder of Bank of America), Lenin (revolutionary leader of Soviet Union), Adolf Loos (Architect, Ornament and Crime), Maria Montessori (founder of Montessori Education Method), H. H. Munro (Saki) (Novelist), Frank Norris (Novelist, The Octopus), Maxfield Parrish (American book and magazine illustrator), Jean Perrin (Physicist, verified atomic nature of matter).

1871: Paul Valéry (last of the French Symbolists), Samuel Hopkins Adams (Journalist, "The Great American Fraud"), Shūsui Kōtoku (Japanese anarchist), Giacomo Balla (Italian futurist painter), Stephen Crane (Novelist, The Red Badge of Courage), Theodore Dreiser (Novelist), Rosa Luxemburg (co-founder, Communist Party of Germany), Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time), Rasputin (Russia's Greatest Love Machine), Georges Rouault (Expressionist painter of clowns, Christs), Michele Angiolillo (Italian anarchist, assassinated Spanish Prime minister Cánovas), Ernest Rutherford (Father of Nuclear Physics), Frank Schlesinger (Astronomer, stellar parallaxes), John Millington Synge (Playwright, The Playboy of the Western World), Orville Wright (co-inventor of the airplane).

1872: Aubrey Beardsley (leading English illustrator, decadent), Max Beerbohm (English critic, parodist, caricaturist, decadent), Émile Henry (French anarchist, detonated a bomb at the Café Terminus in the Parisian Gare Saint-Lazare), Charles Greeley Abbot (Astronomer, solar energy), Roald Amundsen (Explorer, first to reach South Pole), Ma Barker (Criminal), L. L. Bean (Founder of L. L. Bean, Inc.), Léon Blum (thrice Prime Minister of France), Calvin Coolidge (30th US President, 1923-29), Willem de Sitter (Astronomer, expanding space), William Duddell (Physicist, electronic music), Paul Laurence Dunbar (Poet), Zane Grey (Novelist, Riders of the Purple Sage), Learned Hand (influential American justice), Marcel Mauss (Sociologist, The Gift), Piet Mondrian (Dutch abstract painter), John Cowper Powys (Novelist), Bertrand Russell (Philosopher, Mathematician, Atheist, Social Critic), William Monroe Trotter (Activist), Howard R. Garis (Novelist, Uncle Wiggily and Tom Swift series).

1873: Alfred Jarry (Playwright, inventor of the pseudoscience 'Pataphysics), Tadeusz Miciński (influential Polish symbolist, gnostic, a forerunner of Expressionism and Surrealism), Valery Bryusov (Russian symbolist), Rudolf Rocker (anarchist without adjectives), Enrico Caruso (operatic tenor nonpareil), Max Adler (Austro-Marxist philosopher), Sante Geronimo Caserio (Italian anarchist, assassin of Marie François Sadi Carnot, President of the French Third Republic), Willa Cather (Novelist), Colette (Novelist), Leon Czolgosz (Anarchist, President McKinley's assassin), Walter de la Mare (Poet), Ford Madox Ford (Novelist, The Good Soldier), Arthur O. Lovejoy (Historian, The Great Chain of Being), Ricardo Flores Magón (Anarchist, agitator behind Mexican revolution), G. E. Moore (Philosopher, Principia Ethica), William Morris (Founder, William Morris Agency), Luigi Lucheni (Italian anarchist, killed Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress consort of Austria and Queen consort of Hungary), Condé Nast (Founder of Condé Nast Publications), Emily Post (Columnist), Alexandros Schinas (Greek anarchist, exact birthdate unknown, assassinated King George I of Greec), Sergei Rachmaninov (Composer), Eliel Saarinen (Finnish-American art nouveau architect), Alfred E. Smith (twice Governor of New York), Charles Walgreen (founder of Walgreen Co.), Robert Wiene (Film Director, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), Adolph Zukor (founder of Paramount Pictures). Honorary Psychonauts: J.D. Beresford (British SF author), Hans Berger (Physicist, Electroencephalogram), William W. Coblentz (Astronomer, infrared spectroscopy), W. C. Handy (Father of the Blues), William E. Riker (Holy City cult leader).


HONORARY ANARCHO-SYMBOLISTS: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Edvard Munch, Luis P. Senarens (1863); G. K. Chesterton, Amy Lowell, Gertrude Stein (1874).

ANARCHO-SYMBOLISTS WHO ARE HONORARY PLUTONIANS: John Jacob Astor (Philanthropist, died aboard the Titanic), Jim Beam (Bourbon baron), Nellie Bly (Journalist, Ten Days in a Mad-House), Max Weber (Sociologist, The Protestant Ethic), Wilhelm Wien (Physicist, Blackbody radiation), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Post-Impressionist painter).

ANARCHO-SYMBOLISTS WHO ARE HONORARY PSYCHONAUTS: J. D. Beresford, William W. Coblentz (Astronomer, infrared spectroscopy), W. C. Handy (Father of the Blues), William E. Riker (Holy City cult leader), Karl Schwarzschild (Astronomer, black holes).

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