Arthur Symons’s (1865–1945) prominence at the end of the nineteenth century and subsequent influence on early-twentieth-century literature is well established. His biographer Karl Beckson aptly calls him “a major figure who helped stimulate the Modernist initiative.”
The breadth of his artistic interests and critical commentary remains extraordinary. In addition to writing short stories, poems, plays, travel sketches, and translations, Symons was a prolific critic and editor who wrote about literature and what he termed “the seven arts.” Yeats famously offered him the laurel “best critic of his generation.” Symons championed freedom of subject matter and literary style and thus influenced the work of Yeats, Eliot, Pound, Joyce, and others, particularly in introducing them to the evocative work of French symbolist writers.
Arthur Symons, Critic Among Critics: An Annotated Bibliography documents the scholarly attention Symons continues to receive not only for his critical influence, but for his own creative work. This annotated bibliography captures over 1000 articles, books, reviews, dissertations, and other writings about Symons, revising and updating Carol Simpson Stern’s 1974 bibliography published in English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920. Over 700 new items appear, some of these from unsigned articles now identified as written by authors such as Virginia Woolf and John Middleton Murry.
The book, arranged alphabetically by author with annotations in paraphrase style, includes a helpful index and provides a chronological list of works published from the1880s to 2005 that will prove useful in tracing the evolution of criticism about Symons. Arthur Symons, Critic Among Critics joins ELT Press’s Arthur Symons: A Bibliography (1990), which covers the primary works, to give scholars a comprehensive view of his writings.