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The Decadent ImageThe Poetry of Wilde, Symons, and Dowson$
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Kostas Boyiopoulos

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748690923

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748690923.001.0001

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Sensual Text, Textual Sense – Aestheticism to Decadence

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
The Decadent Image

Kostas Boyiopoulos

Edinburgh University Press

This introductory chapter puts emphasis on the idea of the text as an erotic, seductive artefact. It argues that in Decadent literature the text, and in extension art, aspires to transgress its nature by having an erotic effect on the reader. The chapter suggests that while in Aestheticism there is a detached, even if sensuous, appreciation of art, in Decadence this appreciation turns into obsessive involvement and participation. The shift from Aestheticism to Decadence is marked by a greater emphasis on heterodox erotic experience. Decadent poetics is defined by the prominence of the isolated ‘detail’ at the expense of the whole, subjectivity and self-consciousness, and conceptions of morbid beauty.

Keywords:   Aestheticism, Decadence, fetishism, textuality, art and life, Walter Pater, Charles Baudelaire, the detail, eroticism, self-consciousness

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