(2471 words)
  • Anthony Mandal (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.

In the development of modern Western literature, the Decadent movement of the late nineteenth century enjoys an ambiguous status, significant yet subversive. Decadence vocalizes the paradox of modern cosmopolitans who found themselves dependent on a lifestyle which they inherently despised. The term itself is one fraught with difficulties: it is more than a synonym for “decay” or “immorality”, and the immediate popularity achieved by the term indicates that it addressed a wide-spread and until-then unconscious need.

The writers of the early eighteenth century never experienced that characteristic uneasiness with the city and civilization which was to become the Romantic inheritance. Not until Rousseau’s Discours …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Mandal, Anthony. "Decadence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2001
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]