I love this word decadence  

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

I love this word decadence is a dictum attributed to Paul Verlaine.

According to Ernest Raynaud in his work La Mêlée symboliste, Verlaine supposedly proclaimed these words a summer Sunday in 1886.

"J'aime le mot de décadence, tout miroitant de pourpre et d'ors. J'en révoque, bien entendu, toute imputation injurieuse et toute idée de déchéance. Ce mot suppose au contraire des pensées raffinées, d'extrême civilisation, une haute culture littéraire, une âme capable d'intenses voluptés (...).Il y a aussi dans ce mot une part de langueur faite d'impuissance résignée, et peut-être le regret de n'avoir pu vivre aux époques robustes et grossières de foi ardente, à l'ombre des cathédrales ."

English translation as translated by William Gaunt in The Aesthetic Adventure:

"I love this word decadence, all shimmering in purple and gold. It suggests the subtle thoughts of ultimate civilization, a high literary culture, a soul capable of intense pleasures. It throws off bursts of fire and the sparkle of precious stones. It is redolent of the rouge of courtesans, the games of the circus, the panting of the gladiators, the spring of wild beasts, the consuming in flames of races exhausted by their capacity for sensation, as the tramp of an invading army sounds."

See also

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