Symons, Arthur William (1865–1945) By Lavery, Joseph
Arthur Symons was a British poet, art and literary critic, memoirist, playwright, short story writer, and editor. He was born in Milford Haven, Wales, on 28 February 1865, the son of Cornish parents: Reverend Mark Symons (1824–1898), a Wesleyan Methodist minister, and Lydia Pascoe (1828–1896). Symons was the foremost exponent of Decadence and the leading promoter of French Symbolism in Britain. An enthused socialite, he manoeuvred successfully through London artistic circles and the Paris avant-garde. In 1901 he married Rhoda Bowser (1874–-1936) and in his later years he retreated to Island Cottage, Wittersham, Kent. In 1908–1910 he suffered a mental collapse in Italy, moving in and out of asylums; he chronicles this experience in Confessions: A Study in Pathology (1930). He recovered and resumed his literary career until his seventies, mainly regurgitating themes of his fin-de-siècle period. He died on 22 January 1945.