By Charles Bernheimer
Charles Bernheimer defined decadence as a "stimulant that bends idea out of form, deforming conventional conceptual molds." during this posthumously released paintings, Bernheimer succeeds in creating a serious idea out of this perennially trendy, hardly understood term.
Decadent Subjects is a coherent and relocating photograph of fin de siècle decadence. Mature, ironic, iconoclastic, and considerate, this outstanding choice of essays indicates the contradictions of the phenomenon, that's either a and a mind set. In looking to exhibit why humans have didn't provide 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 back to these authors and artists whose paintings constitutes the topos of decadence, rereading key overdue nineteenth-century authors similar to Nietzsche, Zola, Hardy, Wilde, Moreau, and Freud to rediscover the very dynamics of the decadent. via cautious research of the literature, artwork, and tune of the fin de siècle together with a riveting dialogue of the numerous faces of Salome, Bernheimer leaves us with a desirable and multidimensional examine decadence, the entire extra vital as we emerge from our personal fin de siècle.
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Extra resources for Decadent Subjects: The Idea of Decadence in Art, Literature, Philosophy, and Culture of the Fin de Siècle in Europe (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)
Vines are hiking the partitions and pushing in among stones, loosening them. a massive tree is taking pictures branches via damaged window panes. in every single place the nice and cozy sun promotes development, fertility, iteration. within the barnyard, chicks are hatching via the handfuls, rabbits are proliferating, animal lifestyles is pullulating, noisily, with a superb stench of fermenting micro organism and decomposing manure. The peasant farmers have grown up from the soil like the vegetation, sucking lifestyles from the rocks, then seeming to fornicate with the earth to supply meals for brand spanking new existence. they've got married one another in incestuous unions, multiplying promiscuously like a herd of animals. All of existence is in stream, in warmth, with reference to explosion, ﬁlling up empty area, producing ever-new progress, responding exuberantly to the sun’s present of strength, urgent opposed to all limits. Do you are feeling exhilarated by way of this evocation of nature’s fervent strength? possibly now not. finally, one of many limits that offers method below the strain of life’s eﬀervescence is especially expensive to you and me—our specific individuality, our embodied ego. Nature cares not anything for that Decadent Naturalism/Naturalist Decadence individuality and its wish to undergo. demise is nature’s reward to the fermentation of existence. The corpse of 1 being feeds the lifetime of one other. Decomposing animal ﬂesh promotes the expansion of crops, which nourishes extra animal existence. dying annihilates existence so as to make room for extra lifestyles. demise consumes life’s extra in order that lifestyles can proceed to breed itself, profusely squandering its assets. My specific lifestyles is of no value to the rampant fertility of existence normally. From this angle, the understanding of my demise, instead of deﬁning the which means of my lifestyles as a wakeful construction, indicates really that my existence has no that means except its organic functionality. My self has no certain id: i'm purely an device of nature’s luxuriant productiveness and impersonal violence. Such concepts are sufficient to provide me nausea, like what i would suppose in settling on up a wide stone and ﬁnding hundreds of thousands of wriggling, slimy, slithering creatures beneath. i'm disgusted with the just about undiﬀerentiated plethora of lifestyles. such a lot of of them, and constantly extra coming, and just one of me! Insofar as i'm like those creatures, insofar as i'm non-stop with nature, it's not that i am particular. i'm like a trojan horse lower than a rock, a part of the never-ending, sickening means of new release. To healing my nausea, i must insist on what diﬀerentiates me from the flora and fauna. i will start by means of invoking the prohibitions that discovered the order of human society, when you consider that all of them paintings opposed to nature: the taboo opposed to incest, the restraint put on sexual freedom, the legislations opposed to homicide, the rites of burial that veil the horror of a decomposing corpse. yet those interdictions are too ordinarily acceptable to mankind to function a safety opposed to my demeaning naturalization. i would like extra radical drugs. I fantasize removal myself completely from the sexual functionality.