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Modern Society[edit]

This section is terrible. I think it should be outright removed, the only line I thought worth staying was The Great Gatsby mention, but even that isn't good enough as is. I fear this section is just going to become a trivia type section, at best. Does anyone oppose its removal? (talk) 22:49, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Modern society is at it's peak of decadence, and it continues to rise. Look around you nowadays; you have stores selling thongs for children, you have people in San francisco stripping naked and marching through the streets demanding acceptance and tolerance, in Britain we have a major binge drinking problem, in America we have people who weigh 800lbs and are unable to get out of bed, we have people who openly discuss their sexual relationships with creatures and objects of all sorts, our role models include dunces like Wayne Rooney and Katie Price, we had a girl on some televised filth called My Super Sweet 16, where this rich American mother bought her 16 year old daughter a $60,000 brand new lexus, then her daughter has an explosive tantrum and tells her mother she hates her, because she did not recieve the car at the right time. How can anyone deny the existence of decadence in modern society? It's more decadent than it's ever been. When I was 15 I couldn't get through a day of school without some fat lesbian telling everyone about what she shoved up her bazinga the previous night. Society is sick and it makes me sick to not see it even mentioned in this article. (talk) 09:56, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

This is an encyclopaedia, not a place for you have a good old rightwing rant, Ive always found it amusing that the people who rant about moral sickness are often the most sick themselves. Various factions of society have always been decadent, to say that we are more decadent than previous societies is purely subjective. Besides which this is primarily about decadence in relation to art, if you could put aside your flailing outrage for a moment and take the time to read the article you might see how misguided your histrionic outburst is. (talk) 03:35, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Rock Music[edit]

After the first paragraph, the rest just seems unnecessary and it adds very little to the article, more like a bunch of opinions and trivial info. Does anyone really think we need to keep the timeline(type thing)? (talk) 22:34, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

I have removed it, if anyone really thinks that it should stay, we can always revert it back. (talk) 22:47, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Islamic views of Western decadence[edit]

Is it worthwhile to include that Islamic scholars and preachers believe the Western world to be in a state of decay and unwilling to defend its values? Davo698 06:48, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Truncated Paragraph[edit]

In the following sentence, either the author or a subsequent editor has left the resolution hanging in the air, or "who" is entirely redundant. Anybody know which it is?

These "decadents" who relished artifice over the earlier Romantics' naive view of nature (see Jean-Jacques Rousseau). --Thurble 23:23, 8 September 2006 (UTC) Thurble

Decline due to moral weakness[edit]

Neo Nazi concepts of decadence????

Ironic, isn't it. I assume the previous contributor was not particularly serious; it would be surprising for them to be unaware of the incredible hypocrisy they were committing by writing four paragraphs of high pretension where a single paragraph of normal prose would have sufficed. ᓛᖁ♀ 15:45, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I really dislike this statement, "(A society that discards unnecessary and outmoded values would not be considered decadent, although perceptions of "unnecessary and outmoded" significantly vary.)"; this says to me that a society can discard certain aspects of morality, without being immoral or "decadent", I think thats a load of crap. I can't think of a single society who "redefined" morality and DID NOT decline into decadence. Morality doesn't change even if society perverts "Morality" by trying to redefine it to fit its socially acceptable "evils". The fact is immoral behavior leads to behaviors such as the seven deadly sins, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride, individuals who are driven by self-indulgent lifestyles can survive in society, but when a society itself becomes this way, a large percentage of the population eventually care more for instant gratifications and less about maintaining and enchancing the social status and thus it declines, Simple cause and effect. Preversion of morailty isn't the only cause but I consider it THE major catalyst in all social decline, especially if you look at the major historical references (such as rome). User:Odinson82 12:46, 28 Sept 2008 (UTC-8)

People are going to disagree what is and what is not "unnecessary and outmoded". You may be quite sure on what constitutes moral decay, and you may be quite sure that it is the major catalyst for social decline, but that is NPOV. The fall of Rome had many causes, too many wealthy people avoiding taxes, shifting the tax burden down the economic ladder, relying too much on foreigners troops for their military, etc.--RLent (talk) 16:03, 11 November 2009 (UTC)


"Few bother to mention that Rome collapsed after generations of Christian rule. The really naughty emperors (Nero, Caligula, etc) were often hundreds of years before the end of the empire."

Anyone else think this should be reworded? Sethoeph 01:15, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I came to the talk page for precisely that reason. Though I'm guessing that you, like I, couldn't think of the appropriate words to replace it with. But it does need to be replaced. sheridan 00:04, 2004 Dec 24 (UTC)

"Due to arguments over the nature of morality, whether a society is decadent or not is a matter of debate, though certain historical societies (such as ancient Rome near its end) are generally held to have been decadent, as decadence often leads to objective decline. "

The notions that the Roman Empire was a decadent society and that its decadence correlated with its decline are heavily contested. Also debated is the notion that the Roman Empire truly declined, with some historians describing a transformation. See the Rome entry. While one can make the argument that the Roman Empire was "decadent" by some measure of decadence, it's not on such solid ground that you should list it as the only example of a decadent society leading to a point of collapse and then use that example to support an argument that decadence leads to collapse. It's certainly a bit out of place to use the word "objective". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:01, 30 August 2009 (UTC)


I don't think of Manet as a Decadent; I've never seen him listed as one before; and I can't think of anything, including Olympia and Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, that would make him one. Would anyone object to my removing his name from the list of Decadent artists? Physicist 23:28, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Maybe he was included because he illustrated the French translation of Poe's "The Raven?" However, the bulk of his work does not fit the decadence profile. --sparkit (talk) 01:33, May 20, 2005 (UTC)


In modern use, decadence is often defined as a decline in or loss of excellence, obstructing the pursuit of ideals. It is typified by the elevation of cleverness, education, and intellectual pretension over experience and tradition, and is often considered materialistic.

The above doesn't make sense. There would be no tradition with out education, and cleverness is a form of excellence! So I rephrased.

The Essence of Decadence.[edit]

Decadence is a hot bubble bath(clean). A box of chocolate with wine and champagne.

Newspaper in tow.

Glistening women's skin.

Basking sun.

Considering 2PM to be too early of a wakeup time.

Occasional orgasm. That orchestral, sacred glandular cosmic crunch.

Woman! That deviled and defiled egg.

Bemusement at the community's earnestness in regards to work.

And an awareness of the world; however glazed.

See: happiness.

--Scroll1 21:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

This mode of human reality is best captured by Wilde's "Dorian Gray". Man, with physical and psychological interests secured(however temporarily), but not dealing with the hard questions of ontological interests(possible en masse, only by the late 19th Century) nurtures a fairly destructive impulse, and is alleviated only by this.

This, short of hazardous materials, is a central problem for the 1st World nations, America in particular. An obsession with comfort and convenience; an addiction to stimulation. Of course, the society is hardly unitary. Elements that are not of this often operate under the burdens of myth and hypocracy. They are stewards and vanguards for a Weltanshung that is obsolete.

Gibbon: "That which is human, must retrograde, if it does not advance."

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:55, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Modern culture and decadence[edit]

I think most of this section is worthless to the article.

Decadence is a common enough word and we don't need to know every time someone in some metal band uses it.

Wot no decadent literature or art?[edit]

I came here to remind myself of the name of the decadent novel which I once read, that was mentioned in the trial of Oscar Wilde and considered shocking in its day. Not mentioned at all. Similar for art - I suppose Aubrey Beardsley would qualify. I'm off to see if the linked articles mention them. (talk) 16:09, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

I am a French writer. I find extremely unfriendly that you deleted my study on Joris-Karl Huysmans, completely in touch with the rest of the article. And that without signing!! HERE IS MY CONTRINBUTION :

An exemplary literary case analyzed by a Christian critic : Joris-Karl Huysmans We can wonder if, as in the case of French naturalism, a decadent society does not engender a consecutive decadent literary movement. "Moralists"’error would consists in incriminating an artist who, by concern of truth, describes reprehensible facts, while justice would want society reforms the disorder, first and not its informer, second or the opposite, unless these two phenomena are simultaneous. For example, Huysmans will be supposed culprit having transcribed his time’s bestiality without having tried to artistically disguise it. Bernard Bonnejean, in an article of 1998, shows the clergy’s contempt against this naturalist author. Mgr. J. Calvet writes this resentful criticism on Joris-Karl Huysmans, thurifier of the roman de l'ordure, “novel of the garbage” :

Huysmans s’est taillé une province, un domaine ou si l’on veut un coin bien à lui, c’est le coin des moisissures (molds), de la pourriture (decay), de la décomposition (decomposition), des sanies (sanies), des pustules (pustules), des eaux de vaisselle (waters of dishes), de l’égout (sewer). Il ne faudrait pas croire qu’il aime cette putréfaction (putrefaction) ; mais il la recherche, parce qu’ayant le dégoût et la haine de la nature et de l’humanité (disgust and hatred for Nature and Humanity), il éprouve une joie malsaine à constater et à nous faire sentir qu’elles aboutissent là, à l’ordure (garbage), et que c’est là leur fondamentale substance[2].

The question is to know if novel of the garbage means "smutty novel" or "novel describing the social garbage". In other words, who or what is decadent ? Novelist or society which he describes ?

Now, it is not the imagination of Huysmans, condemned by Calvet, which must be questioned, because the decadent writer is only describing a decadent reality registered in the documents of the period. An official report of 1878 describes the same situation with sometimes the same words :

Partout on constate qu’un grand nombre des immeubles dans lesquels sont installés des garnis sont dans l’état le plus déplorable au point de vue de la salubrité. L’humidité y est constante, l’aération et l’éclairage insuffisants, la malpropreté sordide. Les logements sont souvent incomplètement protégés contre les intempéries des saisons ; les cours et les courettes sont infectées par des amoncellements de détritus de toute nature en putréfaction, la stagnation des eaux pluviales et ménagères qui y croupissent et s’y putréfient.

Everywhere we notice that a large number of the buildings in which are settled the garnis are in the most pitiful state for the point of view of the healthiness. The humidity is there constant, the aeration and the lighting insufficient, the dirty disgusting. Housing is often incompletely protected against the bad weather of the seasons ; the small courtyards are infected by piles of garbage of all kinds in decomposition, the stagnation of rain waters and waste water which rot and decay there[3]

However, it would be perfectly imaginary to stay in this determinist perspective of the decadent writing. A decadent society does not pull only a decadent social and artistic vision. Any decline leaves the individual and the artist free of their choices : the resignation, the dream, the revolt or the conversion to Hope. For Huysmans, it will be the conversion to Catholicism, because, according to Bonnejean, " Huysmans estimates, intuitively, remedies which the Church wants to bring to the Evil, in particular to the social Evil, and the rules which she delivers to the knowledge of the believers"[4]

So Huysmans naturalist's report of a decadent society does not end in a sterile decadent pessimism but, by virtue of the metamorphosis operated by the catholic faith, in a militant action registered in the ecclesial texts such Rerum novarum:

It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man's little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life[5].

--Hordalistic (talk) 00:40, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

You can't just add a huge essay, especially when it is your own study. Plus, it is undue weight to have it larger than every other section. A sentence on it would have been fine. Zazaban (talk) 02:42, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Il sera dit, définitivement, qu'entre wikipedia et hordalistic, il n'est pas d'accord possible. J'ai demandé à ce cher zazaban de corriger mon anglais. Il a détruit mon article. Regardez bien ces lignes : demain vous n'aurez pas le loisir d'en prendre connaissance. Ils les auront supprimées. Je m'exprime en français ? Peut-être parce que je crois encore possible le respect du monde libre pour un pays aujourd'hui décadent. --Hordalistic (talk) 02:55, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Decadence - not really a "personal trait", more a style[edit]

Decadence, like for example being bohemian, is definately not a personality trait, and hence not really a "personal trait". It is a personal style or lifestyle. (talk) 14:44, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Positive view[edit]

More ought to be added on positive takes on decadence. Zazaban (talk) 17:08, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

No rightism?[edit]

I've never heard liberals use the word, but I've heard lots of conservatives and rightists use it. The article needs more on the rightist perspective. I notice others have raised multiple kinds of neutrality and balance issues here. Abyssal (talk) 14:29, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Liberals don't use the word. Hence the critique of the concept. Scientists of all shades amply use concepts with normative meanings or associations, as in this case. But when a concept is perceived to lean towards the "other" end of the political spectrum, at once critics spring up. It has nothing to do with scientific critique, just with politics. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:1205:5045:1BC0:307F:E133:3DA3:880C (talk) 09:53, 21 October 2016 (UTC)


This article makes no mention of Nietzsche, who used the word decadence fairly liberally throughout Twilight of the Idols at least. But Nietzsche called morality itself decadent. Decadence is decline itself, not moral decline. Moral should be removed from the definition and moral decline should be made into a sub heading. Informatikon (talk) 18:29, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Terrible article...[edit]

Unorganized, nothing about literature or art, greatfull dead is irrelevant to the history of the world... Also poorly written from a very bias, obviously white western point of view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)


For the life of me I can't see how the section on Dandies fits in. A very poor article IMHO. (talk) 15:20, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm thinking the same. I'll delete it if nobody objects. Bhny (talk) 01:56, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Literal meaning[edit]

Decadence means moral decline. Some dictionaries don't even give self-indulgence as a secondary meaning. I think this word has been severely misconstrued. It seems to me that its use in describing The West, next to words like 'opulence', have made that word's meaning attach itself to 'decadence'. (talk) 12:30, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Is this article about the word or about the topic?[edit]

Usually articles are about a topic, but occasionally they are about a word and are basically an extended dictionary definition. Which one is this article? Bhny (talk) 17:58, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

I've re-read the article and made a copy edit to the lead which I hope focuses the article more on the topic of decadence. Bhny (talk) 01:48, 22 April 2014 (UTC)