Decadence: Empire, Sexuality, Aesthetics (LA)

Subject associations
COM 319 / ECS 325
Spring 2024
Peter Makhlouf
Registrar description

The foreigner, the pervert, the outcast: the imaginary of literary decadence is fixated on figures at the margins of the social order, who are valorized and exalted. This course investigates the aesthetics of abjection in late 19th., early 20th c. (English, French, German) literary and visual culture as it develops in response to European empire. Core themes include: "late" or "decadent" antiquities; decadence and orientalism; Jewish decadence; and how these interact with the catalog of haunting female figures that populate these imaginaries. Class trips include visits to both the Neue Galerie in NYC and Firestone's Special Collections.