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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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‘A little while’

‘A little while’

Expiration in Suspension

(p.131) Chapter 6 ‘A little while’
The Decadent Image

Kostas Boyiopoulos

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 6 investigates Ernest Dowson’s protracted expiring moment, or the drawn-out moment of dying, borrowing elements from Schopenhauer’s ‘Will’. Through liminal, (post)apocalyptic landscapes, twilight, autumnal worlds, and static spaces, Dowson arrives, the chapter argues, at a whole new order of artificiality, one that postpones death and oblivion so that these can be arrested in the mind. The pure, uncontaminated object of desire is infinitesimally close yet remaining inaccessible. In aestheticising the transient moment, Dowson’s poetic speakers become introspective, retreating into their own subjectivity, something that is reflected in images and tropes of Roman Catholic ritualism and self-isolation. Unfulfilled desire rises above experience; what is desired is desire itself.

Keywords:   Ernest Dowson, landscape, death, expiring moment, Roman Catholicism, liminality, apocalypse, self-isolation, sunset

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