In the 19th century in Europe appeared a new genre of poetry called symbolism. It was initially built as a reaction to naturalists and their vision considered too pragmatic and too rational of the world. The poets who joined this movement believed that poetry should be more abstract than descriptive. They thought that poems have to evoke emotions from sonorities. However their base material did not make it easy for them.
Unlike painters who use color pigments as base material, poets use words. Pigments can at best evoke ideas or memories, but they don’t mean anything. A word however does have a significance which is linked to reality through its meaning. The issue for poets is that this significance can change and fade away with time. What will be left of their poems a hundred years later ? Realizing this made some of them doubt the language.
They decided to solve this problem by using rare words whose meaning had already faded away. This way, the images they would create in the poems would stay abstract and not be impacted by time.
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