What is decadence?
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In Europe at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, the bourgeois economy increasingly actively supplanted the feudal-serf system, which gave rise to decadent attitudes in society. Especially brightly they were expressed in art. The ideas of this art, like many other things, were borrowed by Russian poets from the Western. Denoted by the French word “decadence”, that is, “decline”, this trend in Russia has found many admirers.
What is decadence: a little of the history of the concept
Decadence means regression in culture, its decline. Initially, this term was used to refer to the cultural phenomena of the Roman Empire in the II-IV centuries.
In addition, this term is used to refer to the direction in art of the XIX-XX centuries: in literature, music, creative thought, self-expression, etc. The term "decadence" can be attributed to the authors of the late XIX century, associated with aesthetics and symbolism and combined in his work the features of early romanticism.
The very idea of decadence originates in the 18th century (Montesquieu), then by this term critics began to denote romanticism, thereby giving it a negative assessment.A little later, authors appeared who began to characterize their work with the word "decadence" with pride, regarding it as an ordinary progress. Decadent authors, for example, can be considered Charles Baudelaire, Theophile Gautier, Oscar Wilde, Maurice Meterlinck, etc.
If we define the development of decadence in history, then it can be attributed to the transitional period between romanticism and modernism.
Signs of decadence
- excessive aestheticism and individualism;
- immoralism - the position of denial of the principles of morality, spiritual values;
- pessimism, despondency, soreness;
- hopelessness, rejection of life, constant themes - death and non-existence;
- rejection of civil and political issues;
- separation from reality;
- the idea of "art for art"
- the pursuit of idleness and hedonism.
Decavers opposed the old trends, looking for new, more flexible forms that could better convey the complex worldview of man.
Decadence in Russia
Those who want to better understand what decadence is on Russian cultural soil can get acquainted with the works of the symbolist poets K. Balmont and A. Blok. "Symbolism" is the second name for a decadent school in literature of the time.
A. Dobrolyubov, F. Sologub, Z. Gippius, D. Merezhkovsky, and V. Bryusov are also among the "older" Russian decadents (1880–1890) in early works. The second bright "surge" of decadence in Russia falls on the period after the 1905 revolution.