Decadent Subjects: The Idea of Decadence in Art, Literature, by Charles Bernheimer

By Charles Bernheimer

Charles Bernheimer defined decadence as a "stimulant that bends notion out of form, deforming conventional conceptual molds." during this posthumously released paintings, Bernheimer succeeds in creating a serious notion out of this perennially stylish, not often understood time period. Decadent matters is a coherent and relocating photograph of fin de si?cle decadence. Mature, ironic, iconoclastic, and considerate, this extraordinary selection of essays indicates the contradictions of the phenomenon, that is either a situation and a mind set. In looking to convey why humans have did not supply a passable account of the time period decadence, Bernheimer argues that we frequently mistakenly take decadence to symbolize anything concrete, that we see as a few kind of agent. His salutary reaction is to come to these authors and artists whose paintings constitutes the topos of decadence, rereading key overdue nineteenth-century authors equivalent to Nietzsche, Zola, Hardy, Wilde, Moreau, and Freud to rediscover the very dynamics of the decadent. via cautious research of the literature, artwork, and song of the fin de si?cle together with a riveting dialogue of the numerous faces of Salome, Bernheimer leaves us with a desirable and multidimensional examine decadence, all of the extra very important as we emerge from our personal fin de si?cle.

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Additional resources for Decadent Subjects: The Idea of Decadence in Art, Literature, Philosophy, and Culture of the Fin de Siècle in Europe

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4 While judging such fragmentation as catastrophic from a political and moral perspective, Bourget is able to recognize its innovative potential in psychological terms: decadence, he suggests, may stimulate new creativity of a morbid, melancholy, refined, sensual kind.  Nietzsche’s Decadence Philosophy In contrast to Bourget, for whom the metaphor of organic decomposition offers an insight into the psychological sources of an aesthetics of the future, Nietzsche uses the same image to justify condemning decadent art and the modernity it expresses.

Perhaps the moralist has not been overcome after all and is masquerading as the philosopher. Such a thought should not be uncongenial to Nietzsche, since he acknowledges being fully implicated in the play of forces he analyzes and the history he narrates. “Most of the conscious thinking of a philosopher,” he remarks, generalizing from his own case, “is secretly guided and forced into certain channels by his instincts” (BGE, 11). Perhaps Nietzsche’s self-overcoming is driven in part by his “instinct of décadence” that divides the world into true and false parts.

This discontinuity, I argue, is both what gives decadence its peculiar dynamism and what generates its peculiarly frustrating epistemological irresolution. Before I move ahead, however, I want to examine briefly how Nietzsche’s views were received during the fin de siècle period, especially by those writers associated with a sensibility labeled “decadent” at the time. It would be interesting to know which of the nine perspectives I outlined above—and there are more, of course—seemed the most relevant to them.

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