English | Topics in English and American Literature and Culture
L208 | 13435 | Mark Harrison
L208 TOPICS IN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE
13435 - 1:25p-2:15p MWF (30 students) 3 cr. A&H.
TOPIC: "Against Nature: Decadent Writing in the Anglophone World"
In the late nineteenth century, a style of writing that concerned
itself with the bizarre, the sickly, the unnatural and the perverse
came into full expression. Known as “decadence,” the style not only
assumed the form of fiction and poetry but crossed over into the
graphic arts and design as well. While this course will focus on
decadent writing in the nineteenth century English context, we will
also sample works from the German and French decadent writers,
earlier works that anticipate the thematic and stylistic concerns of
the decadents and later writings that carry the form well into the
twentieth century. In addition to reading the works of the
decadents we will also work to tie the themes and style of the
writing to the broader cultural sensibilities of the moment from
whence decadence emerged—the so-called fin-de-siècle. Writers
considered will include Oscar Wilde, Thomas De Quincey, JK Huysmans
and Algernon Charles Swinburne.