1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moréas, Jean

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MORÉAS, 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 Syrtes (1884), Les Cantilenes (1886), and Le Pelerin passionné (1891) won recognition beyond the limits of this school. In the XIX” siecle (August II, 1885) he formulated the principles of the syrnbolists, 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, Mallarmé and Verlaine. Le Pélerin passionné was sympathetically reviewed by Anatole France. As time went on he repudiated the licence claimed by the symbolist's, and became the leader of an offshoot from the main body known as the école romane, the chief members of which are Raymond de la Tailhéde, Maurice du Plessys, Ernest Raynaud, and the critic Charles Maurras. Moréas and his new followers returned to the traditional severity of French versification, and to the classical and antique tradition. His later volumes are Poésies, 1886–1896 (1898), and Stances (6 vols., complete ed. 1905), Histoire de Jean de Paris, roi de France (1902), Voyage en Grece en 1897 (1902), Contes de la vieille France (1903), and a classic drama in verse, I phigénie il Aulis (1904), in closing imitation of Euripides, which was represented on the 24th of August 1903 in the ancient theatre of Orange, and subsequently at the Odéon in Paris. He died on the 31st of March 1910.

See Anatole France, La Vie littéraire (4th ser., 1892); A. van Bever and P. Léautaud, Poétes d'aujourd'hui, 1880–1900 (11th ed., 1905); P. Berthelot, art. “Symbolisme” in La Grande encyclopédie; and J. de Gourmont, Jean Moréas, biographies critique (1905).