Quotes About Decadence

Quotes tagged as "decadence" (showing 1-30 of 150)
Mae West
“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
Mae West

Mae West
“I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”
Mae West

Charles Baudelaire
“The Devil pulls the strings which make us dance;
We find delight in the most loathsome things;
Some furtherance of Hell each new day brings,
And yet we feel no horror in that rank advance.”
Charles Baudelaire

Dorothy Parker
“Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.”
Dorothy Parker

Alfred de Musset
“You’re like a lighthouse shining beside the sea of humanity, motionless: all you can see is your own reflection in the water. You’re alone, so you think it’s a vast, magnificent panorama. You haven’t sounded the depths. You simply believe in the beauty of God’s creation. But I have spent all this time in the water, diving deep into the howling ocean of life, deeper than anyone. While you were admiring the surface, I saw the shipwrecks, the drowned bodies, the monsters of the deep”
Alfred de Musset, Lorenzaccio

Friedrich Nietzsche
“It is a self-deception of philosophers and moralists to imagine that they escape decadence by opposing it. That is beyond their will; and, however little they acknowledge it, one later discovers that they were among the most powerful promoters of decadence.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power

“Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains — cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes evermore computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.”
Peter Watts, Blindsight

Joris-Karl Huysmans
“(Baudelaire) had descended to the bottom of the inexhaustible mine, had picked his way along abandoned or unexplored galleries, and had finally reached those districts of the soul where the monstrous vegetations of the sick mind flourish. There, near the breeding ground of intellectuals aberrations and disease of the mind - the mysterious tetanus, the burning fever of lust, the thyphoids and yellow fevers of crime – he had found, hatching in the dismal forcing-house of ennui, the frightening climacteric of thoughts and emotions.”
Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature

Gustave Flaubert
“Never have things of the spirit counted for so little. Never has hatred for everything great been so manifest – disdain for beauty, execration of literature. I have always tried to live in an ivory tower, but a tide of shit is beating at its walls, threatening to undermine it.”
Gustave Flaubert

“Decline is also a form of voluptuousness, just like growth. Autumn is just as sensual as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.”
Iwan Goll

Théophile Gautier
“(Decadent style) is ingenious, complicated, learned, full of shades of meaning and research, always pushing further the limits of language... forcing itself to express in thought that which is most ineffable, and in form the vaguest and most fleeting contours; listening that it may translate them to the subtle confidences of the neuropath, to the avowals of aging and depraved passion, and to the singular hallucinations of the fixed idea verging on madness... In opposition to the classic style, it admits of shading, and these shadows teem and swarm with the larvae of superstitions, the haggard phantoms of insomnia, nocturnal terrors, remorse which starts and turns back at the slightest noise, monstrous dreams stayed only by impotence, obscure phantasies at which daylight would stand amazed, and all that the soul conceals of the dark, the unformed, and the vaguely horrible, in its deepest and furthest recesses.”
Théophile Gautier, Charles Baudelaire and His Life

M.P. Shiel
“The habit is now confirmed in me of spending the greater part of the day in sleep, while by night I wander far and wide through the city under the sedative influence of a tincture which has become necessary to my life”
M.P. Shiel, Xélucha and Others

Charles Baudelaire
“We revel in the laxness of the path we take.”
Charles Baudelaire

Pierce Brown
“Society has three stages: Savagery, Ascendance, Decadence. The great rise because of Savagery. They rule in Ascendance. They fall because of their own Decadence."
He tells how the Persians were felled, how the Romans collapsed because their rulers forgot how their parents gained them an empire. He prattles about Muslim dynasties and European effeminacy and Chinese regionalism and American self-loathing and self-neutering. All the ancient names.
"Our Savagery began when our capital, Luna, rebelled against the tyranny of Earth and freed herself from the shackles of Demokracy, from the Noble Lie - the idea that men are brothers and are created equal."
Augustus weaves lies of his own with that golden tongue of his. He tells of the Goldens' suffering. The Masses sat on the wagon and expected the great to pull, he reminds. They sat whipping the great until we could no longer take it.
I remember a different whipping.
"Men are not created equal; we all know this. There are averages. There are outliers. There are the ugly. There are the beautiful. This would not be if we were all equal. A Red can no more command a starship than a Green can serve as a doctor!"
There's more laughter across the square as he tells us to look at pathetic Athens, the birthplace of the cancer they call Demokracy. Look how it fell to Sparta. The Noble Lie made Athens weak. It made their citizens turn on their best general, Alcibiades, because of jealousy.
"Even the nations of Earth grew jealous of one another. The United States of America exacted this idea of equality through force. And when the nations united, the Americans were surprised to find that they were disliked! The Masses are jealous! How wonderful a dream it would be if all men were created equal! But we are not.
It is against the Noble Lie that we fight. But as I said before, as I say to you now, there is another evil against which we war. It is a more pernicious evil. It is a subversive, slow evil. It is not a wildfire. It is a cancer. And that cancer is Decadence. Our society has passed from Savagery to Ascendance. But like our spiritual ancestors, the Romans, we too can fall into Decadence.”
Pierce Brown, Red Rising

Rachilde
“No, no, don't let my vulnerable heart share in this sacrifice to lust! Let him disgust me before pleasing me! Let him be what others have been, an instrument that I can break before becoming the echoes of its vibration.”
Rachilde, Monsieur Venus: A Materialist Novel

Jean Lorrain
“The madness of the eyes is the lure of the abyss. Sirens lurk in the dark depths of the pupils as they lurk at the bottom of the sea, that I know for sure - but I have never encountered them, and I am searching still for the profound and plaintive gazes in whose depths I might be able, like Hamlet redeemed, to drown the Ophelia of my desire.”
Jean Lorrain, Monsieur De Phocas

Rémy de Gourmont
“The pleasure of being a scoundrel can be adequately savored in silence.”
Rémy de Gourmont, The Angels of Perversity

Alfred de Musset
“The blood of my motherland waters a magic plant that cures all ills. That plant is art, and sometimes art needs corruption as a kind of fertilizer”
Alfred de Musset, Lorenzaccio

“The exotic and the erotic ideals go hand in hand, and this fact also contributes another proof of a more or less obvious truth - that is, that a love of the exotic is usually an imaginative projection of a sexual desire.”
Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony

Charles Baudelaire
“If rape or arson, poison or the knife
Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff
Of this drab canvas we accept as life -
It is because we are not bold enough!”
Charles Baudelaire

Novalis
“There is an energy which springs from sickness and debility: it has a more powerful effect than the real, but, sadly, expires in an even greater infirmity.”
Novalis

J.G. Ballard
“Elaborate burial customs are a sure sign of decadence.”
J.G. Ballard, The Complete Short Stories

Joris-Karl Huysmans
“In this game he had acquired a great deal of muddled knowledge, more than one approximation and less than one certitude. And absence of energy, a curiosity that was too sharp to be crushed immediately, a lack of order in his ideas, a weakening of his spiritual boundaries, which were promptly twisted, an excessive passion for running along forked roads and wearying of the path as soon as he had started on it, mental indigestion demanding varied dishes, quickly tiring of the foods he desired, digesting almost all, but badly, was his state.”
Joris-Karl Huysmans, Becalmed

“Everyone in a decadent society, Lorrain urges, is guilty. Everyone loves masking murder and everyone takes masochistic pleasure in the risk of discovery and punishment.”
Jennifer Birkett

Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
“They had...finished their lives before their death – which is not always the end of life and often comes long before the end.”
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly, Les Diaboliques

Octave Mirbeau
“After two years' absence she finally returned to chilly Europe, a trifle weary, a trifle sad, disgusted by our banal entertainments, our shrunken landscapes, our impoverished lovemaking. Her soul had remained over there, among the gigantic, poisonous flowers. She missed the mystery of old temples and the ardor of a sky blazing with fever, sensuality and death. The better to relive all these magnificent, raging memories, she became a recluse, spending entire days lying about on tiger skins, playing with those pretty Nepalese knives 'which dissipate one's dreams'.”
Octave Mirbeau

Rachilde
“A very special case. A few years more, and that pretty creature who you love too much, I think, will, without ever loving them, have known as many men as there are beads on her aunt's rosary. No happy medium! Either a nun or a monster! God's bosom or sensual passions! It would, perhaps, be better to put her in a convent, since we put hysterical women in the Saltpetriere! She does not know vice, she invents it!"

That was ten years ago before the day our story begins and... Raoule was not a nun.”
Rachilde, Monsieur Venus: A Materialist Novel

Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
“For a decadent like Baudelaire the only possible ends are suicide or the foot of the cross”
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly

“Hidden away behind the closed doors of aristocratic and bourgeois privilege, concealed under those ultra-respectable masks of black frock coat and veil, the green glow of corruption flickers into sight, steadies, and spreads everywhere, fostered by Lorrain's horrified and complicitous gaze. This decadent detective is at one with the criminal he pursues, acknowledging openly that the representation of corruption is one of the most pleasurable forms that corruption can take. In this enterprise, art is the mask that both exposes and conceals culpability.”
Jennifer Birkett

Robert W. Chambers
“It is well known how the book spread like an infectious disease, from city to city, from continent to continent, barred out here, confiscated there, denounced by press and pulpit, censured even by the most advanced of literary anarchists. No definite principles had been violated in those wicked pages, no doctrine promulgated, no convictions outraged. It could not be judged by any known standard, yet, although it was acknowledged that the supreme note of art had been struck in "The King in Yellow," all felt that human nature could not bear the strain nor thrive on words in which the essence of purest poison lurked. The very banality and innocence of the first act only allowed the blow to fall afterwards with more awful effect.”
Robert W. Chambers, The Yellow Sign & Other Stories

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