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in literature, name loosely applied to those 19th-century, fin-de-siècle European authors who sought inspiration, both in their lives and in their writings, in aestheticism and in all the more or less morbid and macabre expressions of human emotion. In reaction to the naturalism of the European realists, the decadents espoused that art should exist for its own sake, independent of moral and social concerns. The epithet was first applied in the 1880s to a group of self-conscious and flamboyant French poets, who in 1886 published the journal Le Décadent. The decadents venerated Baudelaire and the French symbolistssymbolists,
in literature, a school originating in France toward the end of the 19th cent. in reaction to the naturalism and realism of the period. Designed to convey impressions by suggestion rather than by direct statement, symbolism found its first expression in poetry but
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, the group with whom they are often mistakenly identified. In England the decadent movement was represented in the 1890s by Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, Ernest Dowson, and Aubrey Beardsley and the writers of the Yellow Book. J. K. Huysmans's À rebours (1884) and Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) present vivid fictionalized portraits of the 19th-century decadent—his restlessness, his spiritual confusion, and his moral inversion.


See A. E. Carter, The Idea of Decadence in French Literature (1958); M. Rheims, The Flowering of Art Nouveau (1966); J. Pierrot, The Decadent Imagination, 1880–1900 (tr. 1981).

References in periodicals archive ?
In the same vein, in the fiction section the editors imaginatively stretch out the Decadent "tendency" from Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" to Proust.
Despite its ostensible resistance to the emerging Decadent movement, this weekly publication ironically introduced to the public the works of those who would eventually become most associated with Decadent poetics.
In Beauty Raises the Dead: Literature and Loss in the Fin de Siecle, Robert Ziegler uses psychoanalytic theories of mourning to analyze the relationship between decadent authors' melancholy and the art they produced.
The author's gender in this case ought to significantly alter the Freudian dynamic that Ziegler has identified at the heart of the decadent project.
The Decadents seem obscurely bereaved, and turn grief into the expressive stuff of their fiction.
Filled with information about the costs, styles of paper and printing, and the day-to-day business of publishing during this period, Publisher to the Decadents contains a few beautiful reproductions of drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, the artist who helped Smithers achieve his great success.
Decadent French decadent,literally, person living in a decadent period
For Baju the decadents were not epigoni casting regretful looks at the summit whence they had declined, but aspirants to an even higher, indeed an immaterially high condition: "the precursors of the latent transformation which is undermining the superimposed strata of Classicism, Romanticism and Naturalism.
Son individualisme absolu, en harmonie avec l'esthetique elitaire des Decadents et leur vision de la societe, expliquerait ainsi son hostilite envers les mouvements feministes.
T]exte hypermetaphorique" (596), Jankelevitch's commentary is centered on the Decadent imbalance between language and meaning.
Soy Delicious's Purely Decadent line averages just over 400 calories per cup--too many for a Best Bite.
In his Romantic Agony Mario Praz cautioned scholars not to use Decadent novels as documents supporting a pseudo-medical treatise on psychopathology.