Decadent Quotes

Quotes tagged as "decadent" Showing 1-30 of 72
Hunter S. Thompson
“We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world—bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

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

Frantz Fanon
“Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions”
Frantz Fanon

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

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

Matthew Phipps 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

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 Vénus: A Materialist Novel

Jean Lorrain
“Masks! I see them everywhere. That dreadful vision of the other night - the deserted town with its masked corpses in every doorway; that nightmare product of morphine and ether - has taken up residence within me. I see masks in the street, I see them on stage in the theatre, I find yet more of them in the boxes. They are on the balcony and in the orchestra-pit. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by masks. The attendants to whom I give my overcoat are masked; masks crowd around me in the foyer as everyone leaves, and the coachman who drives me home has the same cardboard grimace fixed upon his face!

It is truly too much to bear: to feel that one is alone and at the mercy of all those enigmatic and deceptive faces, alone amid all the mocking laughs and the threats embodied in those masks. I have tried to persuade myself that I am dreaming, and that I am the victim of a hallucination, but all the powdered and painted faces of women, all the rouged lips and kohl-blackened eyelids... all of that has created around me an atmosphere of trance and mortal agony. Cosmetics: there is the root cause of my illness!

But I am happy, now, when there are only masks! Sometimes, I detect the cadavers beneath, and remember that beneath the masks there is a host of spectres.”
Jean Lorrain, Monsieur De Phocas

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

“In the end, this volume should be read a s a collection of love stories, Above all, they are tales of love, not the love with which so many stories end – the love of fidelity, kindness and fertility – but the other side of love, its cruelty, sterility and duplicity. In a way, the decadents did accept Nordau's idea of the artist as monster. But in nature, the glory and panacea of romanticism, they found nothing. Theirs is an aesthetic that disavows the natural and with it the body. The truly beautiful body is dead, because it is empty. Decadent work is always morbid, but its attraction to death is through art. What they refused was the condemnation of that monster. And yet despite the decadent celebration of artifice, these stories record art's failure in the struggle against natural horror. Nature fights back and wins, and decadent writing remains a remarkable account of that failure.”
Asti Hustvedt, The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France

Rachilde
“The terrible poetry of human nudity, I understand it at last, I who tremble for the first time in trying to read it with blasé eyes.”
Rachilde, Monsieur Vénus: A Materialist Novel

“Like symbolism, decadence puts forth the idea that the function of literature is to evoke impressions and 'correspondences', rather than to realistically depict the world. ... the decadent aestheticized decay and took pleasure in perversity. In decadent literature, sickness is preferable to health, not only because sickness was regarded as more interesting, but because sickness was construed as subversive, as a threat to the very fabric of society. By embracing the marginal, the unhealthy and the deviant, the decadents attacked bourgeois life, which they perceived as the chief enemy of art.”
Asti Hustvedt

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

James Elroy Flecker
“We men of this age are rotten with book-lore and with a yearning for the past.”
James Elroy Flecker, The Last Generation A Story of the Future

Rachilde
“Although he had always been a gentleman till then, he had 'caught his century', a disease impossible to analyze but by this simple phrase.”
Rachilde, Monsieur Vénus: A Materialist Novel

“The decadent artist markets other people's pain”
Jennifer Birkett

“By living a life “against nature,” the deviant or pervert becomes a hero or heroine in decadent fiction.”
Asti Hustvedt, The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France

“In this image (watching sensual murder through a peephole) Lorrain embodies the criminal delight of decadent art. The watcher who records the crimes (both the artist and consumer of art) is constructed as marginal, powerless to act, and so exculpated from action, passive subject of a complex pleasure, condemning and yet enjoying suffering imposed on others, and condemning himself for his own enjoyment. In this masochistic celebration of disempowerment, the sharpest pleasure recorded is that of the death of some important part of humanity. The dignity of human life is the ultimate victim of Lorrain's art, thrown away on a welter of delighted self-disgust.”
Jennifer Birkett

“For Zola, as for Huysmans, nature itself is uncanny because it is the domain of the feminine, a domain that is constitutionally defective, lacking, even pathological.”
Charles Bernheimer

“The conventional use of words and of narrative structure is deliberately subverted in decadent fiction; language deviates from the established norms in an attempt to reproduce pathology on a textual level. With its emphasis on aberration and artifice, the decadents' approach to the language of fiction frequently leans towards the baroque and the obscure.”
Asti Hustvedt, The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France

“At issue for Peladan is the potency of the visual image: art's ability to construct images for viewing that can mobilize, concentrate and redirect instinctive responses. He brings out into the open the recognition underlying all decadent art; that is, the political function of the fascinated gaze.”
Jennifer Birkett

“Decadent cooks go one step further and make sculptures of the food itself. If life is to be spent in pursuit of the extravagant, the extreme, the grotesque, the bizarre, then one's diet should reflect the fact. Life, meals, everything must be as artificial as possible - in fact works of art. So why not begin by eating a few statues?”
Medlar Lucan, The Decadent Cookbook

“Adornment, exoticism, affectation are all willed decadent strategies meant to pervert the texts they made. Decadent texts often live in their descriptive excursions, in their evocation of dreams, mysterious places and states of mind, in their excess of words, not events. The surface of the texts, the sound of the words, point to themselves as manufactured, as illusion. The decadents attempted to create texts that announced themselves as artifice.”
Asti Hustvedt, The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France

“It is precisely, if paradoxically, because reversal is in the service of repetition (so as to ensure, alongside its companion strategies, a dizzying proliferation of citations) that it gains a subversive power rather than remain a mere dependent (and thus conservative) form of social discourse. Reversal plays a double role in this novel (MONSIEUR VENUS), for it is not only a formal strategy bearing on citation, but itself a citation as well; one more cliché mobilized from the fin-de-siecle reserve.”
Janet Beizer

Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
“For – as everyone knows – in libertinism bad taste is a potent force. ("A Woman's Vengeance")”
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly, Les Diaboliques

Jean Cocteau
“La décadence est la grande minute où une civilisation devient exquise.”
Jean Cocteau

Gabriele D'Annunzio
“Radian. The prisoner's name is Radiana.
Who is keeping her prisoner?
Time, Stelio. Time is guarding the doors with his scythe and his hour-glass, as in all those old prints...”
Gabriele D'Annunzio, The Flame

Ross Douthat
“I’m just saying that if this were the age in which some major divine intervention happened, whether long prophesied or completely unforeseen, there would be, in hindsight, a case that we should have seen it coming. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone if decadence ends with people looking heavenward: toward God, toward the stars, or both.”
Ross Douthat, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success

Anas Hamshari
“Decadence also exists because this second generation is not accustomed to the hardships which the previous generation endured.”
Anas Hamshari, Businessman With An Affliction

Amy Thomas
“Can liquid be considered a proper dessert? Oui, in the rare instance that it's something as exquisite as Angelina's signature chocolat "l'Africain." So obscenely thick and outrageously rich, it's even better than when, as a kid, I'd sip Swiss Miss hot cocoa and savor those mini-marshmallows after sledding on an icy winter day.
Angelina's hot chocolate is so smooth and velvety, each sip sensually coats your tongue and teeth. It's both refined and indulgent; it's a simple recipe but a sophisticated experience. It arrives on a silver tray and is served perfectly warm- not scalding hot- with a side of whipped cream sculpted into a decorative puff. It's the perfect way to warm up on a rainy spring day. A decadent way to get your day's chocolate quota. It's hot chocolate worth the price of airfare to Paris.”
Amy Thomas, Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light

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