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legacies of decadencelocked

  • David Weir


Manifestations of decadence outside of western Europe appear to confirm philosopher Theodor Adorno’s thesis that decadence entails an implicit critique of modernity. The elevation of decadence to a position of such heightened social and cultural significance is only one part of the legacy of Baudelaire, Huysmans, and Wilde. Today, academic interest in decadence is on the rise and a set of sociocultural concerns that once seemed secondary or derivative now appears far more substantial than the notion of "decadent style" or of some other purely aesthetic analysis. Because of its conflicted sense of modernity, decadence emerges as a kind of dark humanism, with the decadent paradigm of decline and decay acquiring positive value.

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