Decadence – a Brief Introduction

October 12, 2009 at 9:03 pm (Uncategorized) ()

When most people use the word ‘decadent’, they mean indulgent, opulent, excessive. Well, they are right, but only in part. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘decadence’ as “the process, period, or manifestation of moral or cultural decline; luxurious self-indulgence. The word is taken from the Latin cadere: to fall. Decadence is a Roman emperor letting his subjects starve so he can pave his streets with gold. Decadence is the poets of the fin de siecle burning away their genius on absinthe and opium. Decadence is the Marchesa Casati travelling by gondolier through Venice, swathed in diamonds, her pet jaguar at her side. It’s an obsession with the Occult mixed with Catholic remorse. It’s Oscar Wilde, recklessly indulging his passion for beautiful boys, knowing full well that it would destroy him. Decadence is not having an extra slice of cake. It’s not sleeping on Egyptian cotton sheets. It means beauty, yes… but with an element of destruction. It’s opulence and sex and death all rolled into one. It’s knowing that you’re damned, and wanting to have some fun along the way.

In this blog, I intend to compose a companion to the literature, art and culture of Decadence. My aim is to inform anyone interested in this ultimate artistic rebellion, and hopefully to learn more myself along the way.

'The Fall of Lucifer' by Gustave Dore

'The Fall of Lucifer' by Gustave Dore



  1. von B. said,

    ‘It’s an obsession with the Occult mixed with Catholic remorse.’ That’s a good defintion as it also well reflects characteristics of my own biography and may explain why I also always was drawn to the decadents.

    I’m glad that you made this blog. I have received some great inspiration and suggestions from it and am looking forward to some further ones!

    Best wishes, J.v.B.

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