Decadences: Morality & Aesthetics in British Literature

Paperback
This revised and expanded volume examines the intersections of aesthetics and morality and asks what Decadence means to art and society at various moments in British literature. As time passes, the definition of what it takes to be D/decadent changes. The decline from a higher standard, social malaise, aesthetic ennui -- all these ideas presume certain facts about the past, the present, and the linear nature of time itself. To reject the past as a given, and to relish the subtleties of present nuance, is the beginning of Decadence. The conflict underlying the contributions to this collection is that of society's moral contempt vis-a-vis the focus on the fleeting present on part of the purportedly decadent artists; who in turn thought the truly decadent to be the stranglehold society maintained on individual interpretation and the interpretation of oneself.