The Age of Decadence


Book Description

A richly detailed history of Britain at its imperial zenith, revealing the simmering tensions and explosive rivalries beneath the opulent surface of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. The popular memory of Britain in the years before the Great War is of a powerful, contented, orderly, and thriving country. Britain commanded a vast empire: she bestrode international commerce. Her citizens were living longer, profiting from civil liberties their grandparents only dreamed of and enjoying an expanding range of comforts and pastimes. The mood of pride and self-confidence can be seen in Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance marches, newsreels of George V’s coronation, and London’s great Edwardian palaces. Yet beneath the surface things were very different In The Age of Decadence, Simon Heffer exposes the contradictions of late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain. He explains how, despite the nation’s massive power, a mismanaged war against the Boers in South Africa created profound doubts about her imperial destiny. He shows how attempts to secure vital social reforms prompted the twentieth century’s gravest constitutional crisis—and coincided with the worst industrial unrest in British history. He describes how politicians who conceded the vote to millions more men disregarded women so utterly that female suffragists’ public protest bordered on terrorism. He depicts a ruling class that fell prey to degeneracy and scandal. He analyses a national psyche that embraced the motor-car, the sensationalist press, and the science fiction of H. G. Wells, but also the nostalgia of A. E. Housman.




Spectrum of Decadence (Routledge Revivals)


Book Description

The 1890s, the Naughty Nineties, was an exciting and flamboyant time in British life and literature. First published in 1993, this title traces the genesis of the literary culture of the 1890s through some of the popular novels and literary texts of the period. By examining works by such writers as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, W. B. Yeats, and Walter Pater, Murray Pittock analyses the nature of the ‘Decadent era’ and the artistic theories of Symbolism and Aestheticism. Significantly, he provides a full assessment of the lasting impact that the thought of the period has had on our own understanding of our cultural past. Spectrum of Decadence explores the confrontations between art and science, sex and mortality, desire and virtue, which, the author argues are as much a part of modern society’s fin-de-siécle as they were of the nineteenth century’s. This reissue bridges the gap between literary texts, historical context, and contemporary critical theory.




Southern Decadence in New Orleans


Book Description

Founded in the summer of 1972 by a few friends as a modest celebration, the Southern Decadence festival has since grown into one of New Orleans’s largest annual tourist events. The multiday extravaganza features street parties, drag contests, dancing, drinking, and bead tosses, culminating with a boisterous parade through the French Quarter. With over 200,000 participants—predominantly LGBT+—these unbridled, pre–Labor Day festivities now generate millions of dollars in revenue. Howard Philips Smith and Frank Perez’s Southern Decadence in New Orleans brings together an astounding array of materials to provide the first comprehensive, historical look at Southern Decadence. In an engaging account spanning five decades, the authors combine a trove of rare memorabilia from the event’s founders, early photographs and film stills, newspaper and magazine articles, interviews with longtime participants, a list of all the parades and grand marshals, as well as reproductions of early Southern Decadence invitations. Throughout, the authors explore the pivotal moments and public perceptions related to the festival—including the myths and conjecture that often inaccurately characterized it—and provide an in-depth narrative detailing how a small party in the Faubourg Tremé grew into a worldwide destination predominantly for gay men. Lauded by city leaders as the second-most profitable festival in New Orleans (outshone only by Mardi Gras), Southern Decadence emanates an air of frivolity that masks its enormous impact on the culture and economy of the Crescent City. But with such growth comes the challenge of maintaining the original spirit of camaraderie while managing expanding administrative and logistical responsibilities. Southern Decadence in New Orleans serves as a historical record that helps ensure the future of the celebration remains forever linked to the joyous impulse of its humble beginnings.




A Baedeker of Decadence


Book Description

During the final decades of the nineteenth century, a common mind-set emerged among many intellectuals--"la decadence." Many novels and novellas of the period were populated with protagonists who were fragile, refined, self-absorbed, and preoccupied with a trivially exquisite aesthetic. A Baedeker of Decadence presents thirty-two international works of literary decadence written between 1884 and 1927. George C. Schoolfield, a world authority on the decadent novel, offers an entertaining and wide-ranging commentary on this highly significant literary and cultural phenomenon. Schoolfield tracks down the symptoms of decadence in narrative works written in more than a dozen languages, providing synopses and passages in English translation to give a sense of each author's style and tone. Schoolfield throws new light on the close intellectual kinship of authors from August Strindberg to Bram Stoker to Thomas Mann, and on the ingredients, themes, motifs, and preconceptions that characterized decadent literature.




Decadent Conservatism


Book Description

British Decadent literature was a radical attack on conventional morality and middle-class taste, its insistence on the autonomy of art and its exploration of sexuality, dissipation, and depravity at odds with the literary and social establishment. Yet this counter-cultural narrative has obscured the often reactionary and elitist tendencies of Decadent writers and artists of the fin de siècle. Decadent Conservatism offers the first in-depth examination of the intersection of Decadence and conservatism, arguing that underpinning both was the desire to find alternatives to liberal modernity. Both Decadents and conservatives turned to the past to uncover values and models of social organisation that could offer stability in a chaotic world. From well-known figures such as Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats, through to the forgotten editors of short-lived periodicals, important female aesthetes such as Michael Field, and politicians such as Arthur Balfour, Decadent Conservatism challenges conventional understandings of the relationship between aesthetics, politics, and the past in late-Victorian Britain. Through a series of thematic chapters exploring the alternative communities created by little magazines, the politics of Individualism, investments in monarchy and religion, Folk Decadence, and jingoistic and nationalist responses to the Second Anglo-Boer war, this study offers a new, and much messier, picture of fin-de-siècle literary politics. It will be of interest to those working on Victorian literature and modernism, as well as social, political, and cultural history of the period 1880-1920.




States of Decadence


Book Description

States of Decadence is a two volume anthology that focuses on the literary and cultural phenomenon of decadence. Particular attention is given to literature from the end of the 1800s, the fin de siècle; however, the essays presented here are not restricted to this historical period, but draw lines both back in time and forward to our day to illuminate the contradictory multiplicity inherent in decadence. Furthermore, the essays go beyond literary studies, drawing on a number of the tropes and themes of decadence manifested in the arts and culture, such as in music, opera, film, history, and even jewelry design.




Political Animal


Book Description

During Mardi Gras 1973, Stewart Butler (1930–2020) fell in love with Alfred Doolittle—a wealthy socialite and schizophrenic from San Francisco. Their relationship was an improbable love story that changed the course of LGBTQ+ history. With Doolittle’s money, Butler was able to retire and devote his life to political activism in the cause of queer liberation. A survivor of the horrific Up Stairs Lounge arson, Butler was a founding member of the first statewide lesbian and gay rights organization in Louisiana and an early champion for transgender rights, playing a key role in the eight-year struggle to persuade PFLAG to become the first national LGBTQ+ organization to include trans people in its mission statement. In Political Animal: The Life and Times of Stewart Butler, author Frank Perez traces Butler’s amazing life from his early childhood in Depression-era New Orleans, his adolescence at Carville where his father worked, his first unsuccessful attempt at college, his time in the army as a closeted gay man, his adventures in Alaska, his transformation into a hippie in the 1960s, his love affair with Doolittle, his decades as a gay rights advocate, and ultimately, his twilight years as an elder statesman. Based on Butler's own personal papers, including hundreds of letters, and dozens of interviews, Political Animal paints an intimate portrait of a legendary figure in gay politics and the times in which he lived.




Encyclopedia of Gay Histories and Cultures


Book Description

First Published in 2000. A rich heritage that needs to be documented Beginning in 1869, when the study of homosexuality can be said to have begun with the establishment of sexology, this encyclopedia offers accounts of the most important international developments in an area that now occupies a critical place in many fields of academic endeavors. It covers a long history and a dynamic and ever changing present, while opening up the academic profession to new scholarship and new ways of thinking. A groundbreaking new approach While gays and lesbians have shared many aspects of life, their histories and cultures developed in profoundly different ways. To reflect this crucial fact, the encyclopedia has been prepared in two separate volumes assuring that both histories receive full, unbiased attention and that a broad range of human experience is covered. Written for and by a wide range of people Intended as a reference for students and scholars in all fields, as well as for the general public, the encyclopedia is written in user-friendly language. At the same time it maintains a high level of scholarship that incorporates both passion and objectivity. It is written by some of the most famous names in the field, as well as new scholars, whose research continues to advance gender studies into the future.




The Pride


Book Description

Wallace Ford explodes onto the fiction scene with a rare and revealing glimpse into the world of New Yorks African-American elite. . . When Sture Jorgenson migrated from Norway to New York, he knew he was coming to the city of eight million stories--but he had no idea what fate had in store for him. His rise from dishwasher at the Water Club to part-owner of a hotspot restaurant named for tragic legend Dorothy Dandridge has him rubbing elbows with many powerful people, but when Sture gains entrée into "The Pride," he becomes part of that coterie of New Yorks most accomplished black men and women, the lions and lionesses whose lives intersect on Wall Street, in Harlem, in the Hamptons, and on Park Avenue. . . Despite the haunting deaths of those closest to him, Paul Taylor has charged ahead, driven by ambition, demons--and dreams for his beloved baby son. A lawyer, businessman, patron of the Water Club, part-owner of Dorothys restaurant, and charter member of The Pride, Paul is living the good life, complete with luxurious Harlem townhouse, fine wine, and fine women. Of course, even the good life has its complications. . . Beautiful, elegant, and gifted with rapier-sharp wit, Diedre Douglas is Pauls ex-wife, and a financial success in her own right. She has turned her close encounter with the glass ceiling into a thriving business enterprise. But for a woman at the top, there are always new challenges. . . Gordon Perkins is Wall Streets top black investment banker, a man whose brilliance and drive are exceeded only by his insatiable appetite for domination, control, and cruelty. His wife, Kenitra, is one of many who have suffered at Gordons hands. Those who get close to him get hurt--with one notable exception. . . From the glitz and the glamour to the power struggles, private dramas--and the surprising color lines drawn even at the highest levels of society--here is an intriguing portrait of a phenomenal city, its fascinating people, and their secrets.




Seeds of Decadence in the Late Nineteenth-Century Novel


Book Description

A comparative assessment of the transmutation of a decadent mentality into an identifiable narrative style. The author examines the work of five major novelists in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and attempts to trace perplexities, perversities and combinations of excess.