The decadent movement in the United States  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

American fin de siecle authors, what some have called American decadents include Ben Hecht, Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Saltus, Francis Saltus Saltus, James Huneker, Lafcadio Hearn and Carl Van Vechten. Lesser-known names are Wilbur Underwood, Hart Crane, Conrad Aiken, Walter Conrad Arensberg, Gelett Burgess, Bliss Carman, Madison Cawein, Stephen Crane, Gertrude Hall, Richard Hovey, James Huneker, Ludwig Lewisohn, Stuart Merrill, and Vance Thompson.

Ben Hecht's Fantazius Mallare and James Huneker's Painted Veils are two examples of Decadent novels in the United States.

"AMERICAN literature at the end of the nineteenth century was not quite ready to assimilate or to borrow intelligently from the decadent movement in England and from the subjectivist and often esoteric movements in France. Borrowings tended to have an artificial look and to be self-conscious. The exotic line that runs from Lafcadio Hearn to Carl Van Vechten and James Branch Cabell produced mostly wax flowers. Imitations of Verlaine and others by Richard Hovey and William Bliss Carman, for example, seem, in retrospect, presentations through a glass transcendentally. Yet, as the new century progressed, such borrowings, from the symbolists especially, helped make possible the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, Allen Tate, and Hart Crane. The American criticism indebted to these subjectivist movements suffers from bohemian posings and cosmopolitan airs, but some of it is sensitively and intelligently impressionistic. Even the bohemian and cosmopolitan criticism which indulged in its own kind of stereotypes and cliches claimed to be highly personalized and to evoke the character and quality of the original work in a word, to be impressionistic, after the manner of Anatole France and Walter Pater."An Age Of Criticism 1900 1950" [1]


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