Decadence : a very short introduction / David Weir
- Very short introductions
Very short introductions.
- Oxford ; New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 
Includes bibliographical references and index
The historical trajectory of decadent culture runs from ancient Rome, to nineteenth-century Paris, Victorian London, fin de siecle Vienna, Weimar Berlin, and beyond. The first of these, the decline of Rome, provides the pattern for both aesthetic and social decadence, a pattern that artists and writers in the nineteenth century imitated, emulated, parodied, and otherwise manipulated for aesthetic gain. What begins as the moral condemnation of modernity in mid-nineteenth century France on the part of decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire ends up as the perverse celebration of the pessimism that imperial decline, whether real or imagined, involves. This delight in decline informs the so-called breviary, or even bible, of decadence from Joris-Karl Huysmans's A Rebours, Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, Gustav Klimt's paintings, and numerous other works.
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