Decadent Subjects: The Idea of Decadence in Art, Literature, by Charles Bernheimer

By Charles Bernheimer

Charles Bernheimer defined decadence as a "stimulant that bends inspiration out of form, deforming conventional conceptual molds." during this posthumously released paintings, Bernheimer succeeds in creating a severe notion out of this perennially stylish, infrequently understood term.

Decadent Subjects is a coherent and relocating photograph of fin de siècle decadence. Mature, ironic, iconoclastic, and considerate, this awesome choice of essays exhibits the contradictions of the phenomenon, that is either a and a frame of mind. In trying to convey why humans have didn't supply a passable account of the time period decadence, Bernheimer argues that we regularly 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 past due nineteenth-century authors equivalent to Nietzsche, Zola, Hardy, Wilde, Moreau, and Freud to rediscover the very dynamics of the decadent. via cautious research of the literature, artwork, and track of the fin de siècle together with a riveting dialogue of the various faces of Salome, Bernheimer leaves us with a desirable and multidimensional examine decadence, the entire extra very important as we emerge from our personal fin de siècle.

Review
Effortlessly integrating his remarkable archival examine, Bernheimer offers readers the feel of being in a collegial seminar with him.
(Choice 2003)

Charlie had many acquaintances, admirers and highbrow interlocutors within the box, and the booklet will locate a massive position with them, either as a homage to his reminiscence, and as a testimonial to the type of literary-historical-psychoanalytical scholarship he represented in literary studies.
(Emily S. Apter, collage of California l. a. 2005)

An first-class e-book through a well known authority within the parts of ecu literature, tradition, and psychoanalysis.
(Christopher S. Nassaar Pre-Raphaelite Studies)

From the Publisher
"Charlie had many buddies, admirers and highbrow interlocutors within the box, and the ebook will locate a big position with them, either as a homage to his reminiscence, and as a testimonial to the type of literary-historical-psychoanalytical scholarship he represented in literary studies."
~ Emily S. Apter, college of California Los Angeles

Charles Bernheimer was once a renowned student within the parts of eu literature, tradition, and psychoanalysis. He taught Romance languages and comparative literature on the collage of Pennsylvania and authored and edited numerous books, together with Comparative Literature within the Age of Multiculturalism, a part of Johns Hopkins' Parallax sequence.

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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)

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Most important to him, it seems, is that decadence remain as the critical term of condemnation in those structures of paired oppositions that are crucial to his thought—despite his distaste for their metaphysical artifice. Thus Nietzsche approves of the healthy man’s “instinctive aversion against décadents” (CW, 192). ” He now applies these judgments only to himself and to the few others who are constitutionally healthy and hence capable of what he calls “self-overcoming” (CW, 155). In The Case of Wagner, the self that he claims to have overcome is the one who was “a child of this time; that is, a décadent” (CW, 155) and who identified with Wagner as the embodiment of this typically modern sensibility.

Because he believes that “there is no pathological trait in [him]” (EH, 257), he is able to treat his sickness as “an energetic stimulus for life, for living more” (EH, 224). Given that he embodies health (including its decadent functions), any other perspective on life is, by implication, contaminated. “As summa summarum [sum total],” he writes, “I was healthy; as an angle, as a specialty, I was a décadent” (EH, 224). While Nietzsche insists, somewhat defensively, on his own fundamental health, he upbraids the rest of us for having allowed decadent poison to spread through our bodies, thereby infecting the entire social order: “The body perishes when an organ is altered,” writes Nietzsche, “There is no solidarity in a society in which there are sterile, unproductive, and destructive elements” (WP, 32–33).

Looking from the perspective of the sick,” he observes, “toward healthier concepts and values and, conversely, looking again from the fullness and self-assurance of a rich life down into the secret work of the instinct of decadence—in this I have had the longest training, my truest experience; if anything, I became master in this. Now I know how, have the know-how, to reverse perspectives: the first reason why a ‘revaluation of values’ is perhaps possible for me alone” (EH, 223). ” In this perspective, the body appears as an organized organic whole and decadence as an ongoing process of the elimination of waste: “Waste, decay, elimination need not be condemned,” he notes, “they are necessary consequences of life, of the growth of life.

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