Chapter

The Pleasures of Decadence: Catholicism in Kate Chopin, Carson McCullers, and Anne Rice

Thomas F. Haddox

in Fears and Fascinations

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225217
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236947 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823225217.003.0004
The Pleasures of Decadence: Catholicism             in Kate Chopin, Carson McCullers, and Anne Rice

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As a literary-historical phenomenon, decadence is notoriously difficult to define. Not only do many of its characteristics overlap with those of other contemporary terms, including Symbolism, Impressionism, and la belle époque, its writers and theorists used the word in a variety of senses. Even so, according to critical consensus, decadence first emerged as a widespread phenomenon in France in the mid-nineteenth century, eventually making its way to England, where it flourishes in the “yellow decade” of the 1890s, and finally coming to color a great deal of western art and literature by the turn of the century, so that in retrospect it seems a harbinger of the emerging Modernist sensibility. From the beginning, decadence has had a contradictory aspect. Such contradictions point toward the fraught historical context from which decadence emerges in France.

Keywords: decadence; Symbolism; Impressionism; France; western art; literature; Modernist sensibility

Chapter.  13085 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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