Decadent Culture in the United States: Art and Literature against the American Grain, 1890-1926

Decadent Culture in the United States: Art and Literature against the American Grain, 1890-1926

by David Weir
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791472787

ISBN-13: 9780791472781

Pub. Date: 01/01/2009

Publisher: State University of New York Press

The paradoxes of the American decadent movement in the 1890s and 1920s.

Decadent Culture in the United States traces the development of the decadent movement in America from its beginnings in the 1890s to its brief revival in the 1920s. During the fin de siècle, many Americans felt the nation had entered a period of decline since the frontier had ended

Overview

The paradoxes of the American decadent movement in the 1890s and 1920s.

Decadent Culture in the United States traces the development of the decadent movement in America from its beginnings in the 1890s to its brief revival in the 1920s. During the fin de siècle, many Americans felt the nation had entered a period of decline since the frontier had ended and the country’s “manifest destiny” seemed to be fulfilled. Decadence—the cultural response to national decline and individual degeneracy so familiar in nineteenth-century Europe—was thus taken up by groups of artists and writers in major American cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Noting that the capitalist, commercial context of America provided possibilities for the entrance of decadence into popular culture to a degree that simply did not occur in Europe, David Weir argues that American-style decadence was driven by a dual impulse: away from popular culture for ideological reasons, yet toward popular culture for economic reasons. By going against the grain of dominant social and cultural trends, American writers produced a native variant of Continental Decadence that eventually dissipated “upward” into the rising leisure class and “downward” into popular, commercial culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791472781
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
01/01/2009
Series:
SUNY series, Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments

1. Introduction: The Problem of American Decadence

2. New York: Decadent Connections

3. Boston: Decadent Communities

4. Chicago: The Business of Decadence

5. San Francisco: The Seacoast of Decadence

6. The Decadent Revival

Afterword
Notes
Index

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