- 132 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm.
- Contents: Introduction -- Rome: classical decadence -- Paris: cultural decadence -- London: social decadence -- Vienna and Berlin: socio-cultural decadence -- Afterword: legacies of decadence.Includes bibliographical references and index.Summary: The historical trajectory of decadent culture runs from ancient Rome, to nineteenth-century Paris, Victorian London, fin de siecle Vienna, Weimar Berlin, and beyond. The first of these, the decline of Rome, provides the pattern for both aesthetic and social decadence, a pattern that artists and writers in the nineteenth century imitated, emulated, parodied, and otherwise manipulated for aesthetic gain. What begins as the moral condemnation of modernity in mid-nineteenth century France on the part of decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire ends up as the perverse celebration of the pessimism that imperial decline, whether real or imagined, involves. This delight in decline informs the so-called breviary, or even bible, of decadence from Joris-Karl Huysmans's A Rebours, Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, Gustav Klimt's paintings, and numerous other works.