Impressionism in English Literature – Meaning and Characteristics


Impressionism was a literary movement that emerged in the Victorian Era. It rose to prominence in the late 19th century, especially in France. It majorly impacted the field of art and literature.

Characteristics of Impressionism 

Sensory Imagery

Works produced during this movement had a lot of sensory imagery in them– they focused on the senses of smell, sight, and sound that enamoured the readers.


The works were very subjective in nature. They recorded the feelings, emotions, and experiences of the central characters in their works in a vivid manner. 

Poetic Style

Impressionism style of poetry involved an extensive usage of free verse. This ensured that the artist’s work of art precisely captured their spontaneity and creativity. In this manner, they also often had fragmented narratives. 

Impressionism Major Poets List and Their Important Works

Arthur Rimbaud

Rimbaufd was a prominent figure of Impressionism. He is renowned for his work “A Season in Hell” which has all the above-mentioned themes, including a fragmented narrative.

Paul Verlaine

Verlaine again was an eminent figure. His collection of poems “Romances sans paroles” is often cited as an example of Impressionism.

Jules Laforgue

Yet another notable figure of Impressionism would be Laforgue. He is known for his work “The Last Sonnets”. 


Impressionism was thus a significant movement in the world of art and literature. Although it did not have many famous poets, it still was important for the literary landscape in introducing an altered perspective of viewing the world through art.