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See also: parnassian



From Parnassus, from Ancient Greek.


Parnassian (comparative more Parnassian, superlative most Parnassian)

  1. Of or relating to Parnassus, as the source of literary (especially poetic) inspiration; (hence) of or belonging to poetry, poetic.
    • 1565, Arthur Golding, The Fyrst Fower Bookes of P. Ovidius Nasos Worke, Entitled Metamorphosis, Translated Oute of Latin into Englishe Meter, London: W. Seres, translation of Metamorphoses by Publius Ovidius Naso, published 1567:
      King Atlas called straight to minde an auncient prophesie Made by Parnassian Themys, which this sentence did implie: The time shall one day, Atlas, come in which thy golden tree Shall of hir fayre and precious fruite dispoyld and robbed bee.
  2. From Gerard Manley Hopkins' writings: describing a style of poetry or language which can only be created by poets, but not in the language of inspiration.
    • 1864, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Poems and prose[1], Penguin Books, published 1954, page 157:
      [] at last, — this is the point to be marked, - they can see things in this Parnassian way and describe them in this Parnassian tongue, without further effort of inspiration.
    • 1864, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Poems and prose[2], Penguin Books, published 1954, page 158:
      But in Parnassian pieces you feel that if you were the poet you could have gone on as he has done, you see yourself doing it, only with the difference that if you actually try you find you cannot write his Parnassian.
    • 1989, Christopher Bruce Ricks, Tennyson[3], ISBN 0520067843, page 212:
      'Behold', 'dream a dream', 'mingle': these here have something of the plangent tremulousness which comes when Tennyson is writing 'Parnassian' verse.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Émile J. Talbot, Reading Nelligan[4], McGill-Queen's University Press, ISBN 0773523189, page 166:
      One might be tempted to read this conjoining of exoticism and sensuality as a Parnassian exercise, until one reads the rest of the poem: []
  3. Of or relating to the Parnassianism movement of French poetry in the years 1850 to 1900, whose adherents rejected Romanticism and instead favored classicism with its formal structure and emotional detachment.
    • 1895, Degeneration[5], New York: D. Appleton and Company, translation of Entartung by Max Simon Nordau, page 270:
      The Parnassian theory of art is mere imbecility.
  4. (entomology) Of, relating to, or designating papilionid butterflies of the genus Parnassius or the subfamily Parnassiinae, consisting of the apollo butterflies.


Parnassian (plural Parnassians)

  1. (rare) A poet.
  2. A French poet of the Parnassianism movement.
  3. (entomology) A papilionid butterfly of the holarctic alpine genus Parnassius or the subfamily Parnassiinae; an apollo butterfly.