Start Encyclopedia69 Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
dictionary -  encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  Decadence (Latin, ‘falling off’) was a late-19th-century movement in the arts in Europe. Its guiding spirit was a feeling of moral and aesthetic exhaustion, as if there were nothing more to contribute to the sum of (pointless) human knowledge and experience. In such circumstances, the artist (so the Decadents believed) could only make the best of things, living for the moment, sating himself or herself on experience and drinking deep of superficiality. (To the outsider, if not to Decadents themselves, it was apparent that the relationship between the abandoned standard and the ensuing decadence is symbiotic, that decadence is impossible without consciousness of the standard being undermined, and that decadence therefore relies extensively on the very standards it affects to despise.) The chief artistic monument to Decadence itself is Huysmans\'s novel A rebours (1884), but the ‘philosophy’ influenced the aesthetic movement in Britain (Oscar Wilde\'s Salome, with Aubrey Beardsley\'s illustrations, is a characteristic work), and its ideas also lie behind the work of many 20th-century artists, including Lawrence Durrell, André Gide, Henry Miller, Gertrude Stein, the Dadaists, the Surrealists, the world-weary German writers, painters and performers of the Weimar republic and after—not to mention such later sophisticates as the Angry Young Men, the Beat Generation and 1970s Punks. KMcL

Further reading Richard Gilman, Decadence: the Strange Life of an Epithet.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
Death Instinct


Other Terms : Game Theory | Endocrinology | Rites Of Passage
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About |
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us