Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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p. ix

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Editors’ Preface

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pp. xi-xviii

It is nothing short of breathtaking to come across such a passage in reading the manuscript of a friend who has just died—indeed it returns to the word “passage” the full power of its ambiguity. Charlie Bernheimer has passed on, and in his wake left two immemorial works: the present volume and the “work” of his last...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

This conversation, which occurred pretty much verbatim, is typical of the responses I got from the people who asked about the subject of my book. My interlocutors, whether academic or not, tended to see connections between my topic and my life. Decadence was not something associated only with the culture of...

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Nietzsche’s Decadence Philosophy

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pp. 7-32

About no other subject was Nietzsche as sure of his unique expertise as about decadence. “Nothing has preoccupied me more profoundly than the problem of décadence,” he asserted in the late work The Case of Wagner (CW, 155).¹ “I am in questions of décadence the highest instance that now exists on earth,”² he boasted to a...

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Flaubert’s Salammbô: History in Decadence

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pp. 33-55

Commenting in 1888, at the end of his productive life, on his youthful essay “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1874), Nietzsche declared proudly: “In this essay the ‘historical sense’ of which this century is proud was recognized for the first time as a disease, as a typical symptom of...

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Decadent Naturalism/Naturalist Decadence

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pp. 56-103

Imagine this: a great surge of vegetation is breaking through rocky soil. An army of insects is emerging from cracks in the plaster. Swarms of termites are attacking the foundations. Vines are climbing the walls and pushing in between stones, loosening them. A giant tree is shooting branches through broken...

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Visions of Salome

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pp. 104-138

Salome is the favorite femme fatale of the fin de siècle. In poems, stories, plays, paintings, posters, sculptures, decorative objects, dance, and opera, well over a thousand versions of the Judean princess were made in Europe between 1870 and 1920—and that reckoning does not include all the sketches by...

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Decadent Diagnostics

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pp. 139-162

One of the primary goals of positivist science in the fin de siècle in such fields as psychiatry, anthropology, sexology, and criminology was the diagnosis of decadence. Because of the overwhelming dominance of the biomedical model in this period, decadence in these professional discourses was conceived in...

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Freud’s Decadence

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pp. 163-183

Although Freud’s biographer Ernest Jones tells us that Freud found Nordau “vain and stupid” when the two men met in Paris in 1886, Freud’s diagnosis of fin de siècle decadence is not all that different from Nordau’s.¹ In an essay of 1908 entitled “ ‘Civilized’ Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous...

Appendix: Outline of “Freud’s Decadence”

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pp. 185-187

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 189-191

Notes

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pp. 193-220

Index

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pp. 221-227

Library of Congress Info

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