- Symbolism had a fleeting vogue among aesthetes in European art theatres of the 1890s and is best represented in the work of poet-playwright Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949). Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was half-heartedly attracted to the quasi-mystical simplification of means, yet he mocked it through Treplev's playlet in act 1 of The Seagull. In America, symbolism as an artistic movement had little impact other than in plays like Edna St. Vincent Millay's Aria da Capo. However, the use of symbolist elements in plays was significant and can be seen in expressionist works by Eugene O'Neill, Elmer Rice, and George S. Kaufman after World War I, and in plays by Tennessee Williams,* Thornton Wilder,* and others after 1930.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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