By David Weir
The paradoxes of the yankee decadent flow within the Eighteen Nineties and 1920s.
Decadent tradition within the usa strains the advance of the decadent circulation in the US from its beginnings within the Eighteen Nineties to its short revival within the Nineteen Twenties. throughout the fin de siècle, many americans felt the state had entered a interval of decline because the frontier had ended and the country’s “manifest destiny” appeared to be fulfilled. Decadence—the cultural reaction to nationwide decline and person degeneracy so widely used in nineteenth-century Europe—was therefore taken up by means of teams of artists and writers in significant American towns reminiscent of long island, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Noting that the capitalist, advertisement context of the US supplied probabilities for the doorway of decadence into pop culture to a point that easily didn't happen in Europe, David Weir argues that American-style decadence used to be pushed via a twin impulse: clear of pop culture for ideological purposes, but towards pop culture for financial purposes. via going opposed to the grain of dominant social and cultural tendencies, American writers produced a local variation of Continental Decadence that at last dissipated “upward” into the emerging rest classification and “downward” into well known, advertisement culture.
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Additional info for Decadent Culture in the United States: Art and Literature Against the American Grain, 1890-1926 (Suny Series, Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century)
Mitchell, 8) Fortunately for Mitchell, a sufﬁciency of Americans continue to live and work in the country to keep the overall effects of the “prodigal activity” of city life in check, at least temporarily. Although Mitchell was writing well before Nordau published his theory of degeneration, his ideas made for a ready ﬁt with that theory, especially as interpreted by Nordau’s American followers. Hazeltine, for instance, might have placed more emphasis on the problem of immorality, but he accepted that ﬁn-de-siècle Americans were physically inferior, not only to the soldiers of the Roman legions but also to their own ancestors who had fought the War of Independence.
But as H. L. ”4 Mencken’s opinion of Saltus is that he deserves the obscurity from which others seek to rescue him: “The man . . is simply a silly and hollow triﬂer—a mass of puerile pretensions and affectations, vain of his unsound knowledge and full of sentimentalities. He began life by hawking the stale ribaldries of Arthur Schopenhauer, already dead twenty years; he departed to realms of bliss chattering the blowsy nonsense of theosophy” (Mencken, 278). By focusing only on the beginning and end points of Saltus’s career, Mencken does the author the disservice of ignoring his early success as the author of novels satirizing New York society, such as Mr.
Weir Mitchell (they were cousins), who prescribed a cure at a cattle ranch in Wyoming. ”31 The Western experience does not work out so well for this latter-day neurasthenic, but Wyoming made all the difference for Wister. Going from Wagner to Wyoming in so short a time is a cultural volte-face of dizzying dimensions, and, while being a Wagnerite does not, by itself, certify Wister as “decadent,” that particular cultural marker, along with his physical weakness and “Harvard indifference,” at least put the man on a widely recognized, downward-tending cultural path.