During the final decades of the nineteenth century, a common mind-set emerged among many intellectuals—“la décadence.” Many novels and novellas of the period were populated with protagonists who were fragile, refined, self-absorbed, and preoccupied with a trivially exquisite aesthetic. A Baedeker of Decadence presents thirty-two international works of literary decadence written between 1884 and 1927. George C. Schoolfield, a world authority on the decadent novel, offers an entertaining and wide-ranging commentary on this highly significant literary and cultural phenomenon.
Schoolfield tracks down the symptoms of decadence in narrative works written in more than a dozen languages, providing synopses and passages in English translation to give a sense of each author’s style and tone. Schoolfield throws new light on the close intellectual kinship of authors from August Strindberg to Bram Stoker to Thomas Mann, and on the ingredients, themes, motifs, and preconceptions that characterized decadent literature.
- Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2005