Decadent Culture in the United States: Art and Literature by David Weir

By David Weir

The paradoxes of the yankee decadent move within the Nineties and 1920s.

Decadent tradition within the usa lines the improvement of the decadent circulate in the US from its beginnings within the Eighteen Nineties to its short revival within the Twenties. through the fin de siècle, many americans felt the kingdom had entered a interval of decline because the frontier had ended and the country’s “manifest destiny” fulfilled. Decadence—the cultural reaction to nationwide decline and person degeneracy so commonly used in nineteenth-century Europe—was hence taken up through teams of artists and writers in significant American towns reminiscent of big apple, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Noting that the capitalist, advertisement context of the US supplied chances for the doorway of decadence into pop culture to a point that easily didn't take place in Europe, David Weir argues that American-style decadence used to be pushed by way of a twin impulse: clear of pop culture for ideological purposes, but towards pop culture for financial purposes. by way of going opposed to the grain of dominant social and cultural tendencies, American writers produced a local variation of Continental Decadence that at last dissipated “upward” into the emerging rest category and “downward” into well known, advertisement culture.

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Additional info for Decadent Culture in the United States: Art and Literature Against the American Grain, 1890-1926 (Suny Series, Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century)

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Morgan’s bankers, no less. 3 In stating that Saltus is all but unknown today but deserves a measure of recognition for his cultural contributions, I am repeating the assessments of earlier critics who have argued for a Saltus revival. Roughly every quarter century someone stumbles upon this forgotten writer and for some reason feels compelled to share the discovery with others. But as H. L. ”4 Mencken’s opinion of Saltus is that he deserves the obscurity from which others seek to rescue him: “The man .

There are, however, differences: “[T]he Romans were never wholly sordid, nor did they ever niggle. When they built a wall, that wall was solid masonry, not painted iron” (382). For Adams, as for the Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram, the school of American architecture led by Louis H. Sullivan of Chicago represented more than the novel use of iron and steel to engineer the first skyscrapers: Sullivan’s work was evidence that America had entered another Age of Iron, for modernity in any form is the antithesis of the Golden Age of medieval art: THE PROBLEM OF AMERIC AN DEC ADENCE 15 No poetry can bloom in the arid modern soil, the drama has died, and the patrons of art are no longer even conscious of shame at profaning the most sacred of ideals.

There was, of course, nervous affliction aplenty in Catholic France, but where the American illness appeared to afflict just about all members of the upper classes, broadly speaking, in Europe the disease, whatever it was called, was confined largely to hypersensitive artists such as the Goncourt brothers. To imagine that any American could approach the level of cultural sophistication possessed by the Goncourt brothers is strange to contemplate; stranger yet is the notion that most Americans did just that.

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