Decadence and Aesthetics

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The relationship between decadence and aesthetics is an intimate and complex one. Both the stock figure of the aesthete and the aestheticism of ‘art for art’s sake’ are classic decadent tropes with obvious sources in figures such as Théophile Gautier, Walter Pater, Joris-Karl Huysmans. Yet the links between aesthetics and decadence are more conflicted than might first appear: historically, aesthetics has served both as a site for the theorisation of decadence and as the basis of an attempt to stem it. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these intricate ties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecadence and Literature
EditorsDavid Weir, Jane Desmarais
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Decadence
  • Nietzsche
  • Philosophy of Art
  • Aesthetics
  • Pater
  • Kant
  • Decadent


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