Decadence and the making of modernism by David Weir PDF

By David Weir

ISBN-10: 0870239910

ISBN-13: 9780870239915

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Thus I read the novel as a mixture of artificiality and brutality, refinement and degeneration: the paradoxical, double essence of decadence. Chapter 5, "Decadence and Décadisme," is subtitled ''A Rebours and Afterward" and is a discussion of Huysmans and his influence: from the short-lived movement known as décadisme to the D'Annunzio cult and the English "art for art's sake" sensibility. In addition to Huysmans' all-important "bible" of decadence, I discuss D'Annunzio's Il Piacere, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, and George Moore's Confessions of a Young Man.

He also tells her that the ceremonies of religion will be ineffective against the strange, erotic power of decay: after the rituals, the worms will "kiss" her body away to nothingness as it lies underground. The church may have the last rites, but Baudelaire has the last word. The poet, at least, will do what he can to preserve something of the form and essence of all his lost, decomposed lovers (''j'ai gardé la forme et l'essence divine / De mes amours décomposés"). Baudelaire's "Une Charogne" stands as the epitaph to this study of decadence for several reasons.

At first, the work seems sentimental and thoroughly conventional: the opening lines present us with a romantic young couple reminiscing about a quiet stroll on a pleasant summer morning ("Ce beau matin d'été si doux"). 1 They seem to be lovers because the speaker of the poem, evidently a young man, uses high romantic diction to refer to his companion, calling her his ''soul" ("mon âme"). The young man looks back to the past, in typical romantic fashion, and asks his lover to recall one of their earlier moments togetherwhen they happened across a rotten carcass of an animal putrefying in the sun (''une charogne infâme").

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Decadence and the making of modernism by David Weir


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