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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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
In other words, Decadent literature is sampled here in terms of its theory, its origins, its poetry and prose, its interpretation/reception, and its spoofs, respectively.
Soy Delicious's Purely Decadent line averages just over 400 calories per cup--too many for a Best Bite.
For anyone interested in Wilde and the literature of the English Decadents of the 1890's, it will be entertaining, if only for the name-dropping and gossip.
Decadent French decadent,literally, person living in a decadent period
If the decadents had really seceded from the modern world, the tone of their notices would have been less angry, more bemused; the notices themselves far fewer in number.
The author of The Nothing Machine makes every effort to extirpate Mirbeau from the stale definitions that plague the much maligned Fin-de-siecle Decadent writers who still await a biographer to account for their attempt to reinvigorate, reinvent and renew literature.
Dowson was an active member of the Rhymers' Club, a group of "decadents" that included William Butler Yeats, Arthur Symons, and Aubrey Beardsley.
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.
Those interested in the Decadence will not be surprised that the central section on the flesh, "Presence du corps," is the most satisfying -- particularly Pierre Jourde's essay on "Le Monstre," where he identifies the Decadent androgyne (with its narcissistic self-sufficiency) as the quintessential teratological specimen, and Charles Grivel's essay, "Luxures," in which the limiting equation of the body and its photographic image yields to the Decadents' exploration of the multiplicity of lustful acts that dissociate the use of an organ from its biological and reproductive purpose.
(3) While the dedication offers the reader clues about the poet's aesthetic and ideological formation, the choices of the art works also mark the cultural milieu in which Machado was operating, a milieu that included traces of the Parnassian and Decadent currents that had profoundly impacted European letters.
Cervoni focuses on Levey's nearly incomprehensible use of neologisms, sentence fragments and unconventional subject/verb structure as exemplifying the Decadent privileging of the "esthetique du morcellement" (16).