Studies in Contemporary Literature
Advanced Decadence (Combined with Italian 230)
As a literary movement, “Decadence” came into existence by means of an act of cultural re-signification; taking up an epithet meant as an insult, Anatole Baju transformed “decadence” into a rallying cry. This course will mime this inaugural gesture by grouping together a number of fin-de-siècle (for the most part) writers and intellectuals (including Freud and the sexologists) whose works are, we will suggest, the locus of a series of cultural re-significations. In particular, we will look at the ways in which norms constraining and defining genders, sexualities, and literary, political, and aesthetic practices are tested and transformed in works by Charles Baudelaire, J.K. Huysmans, Georges Rodenbach, Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, Havelock Ellis, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer, Richard Marsh, and Rachilde.
Requirements: one oral presentation; one 20-25 page seminar paper.