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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Will a table of contents be announced soon? Iím pretty sure Iíll dig the book, whether or not I fully grasp just what the #%$& neo-decadence actually is!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: Neo-Decadence

I'll start by saying that I think Ligotti would be a perfect candidate for something like a movement in literature called "neo-Decadence."

However, speaking as an anti-historicist, I actually believe the literature of the 19th century is qualitatively better than most contemporary literature due to their respective cultural climates. A 19th century writer was less likely to be concerned about where he or she stood with respect to the historical genre they were participating in; they were more concerned with the "universal" aspects of the human condition. On the other hand, a lot of writers nowadays seem far too preoccupied with subversion for the sake of subversion, Joyces' Ulysses being a good example. There's an obsession with leaving the past behind, which I think is ultimately detrimental to writing as an art form. A writer from the 19th century would've looked to the past for inspiration, not to reject the present, but to find something of value from his or her predecessors. And it wasn't because they rejected historicism; it was because historicism was never a part of their "worldview" (or whatever one wants to call it). What we have from the 19th century are a number of great men and women who wrote great literature, people who wrote about myriad things which transcend historical periods. The same goes for people such as Lovecraft, Ligotti, Machen, etc. We believe in the quality of their work because they struggled against time as well as literary genres.

I can discover more in a single story by Poe or a poem by Baudelaire, for instance, than I can from most of the fiction produced today. In other words, I don't think Poe or Baudelaire are "outdated" - quite the contrary. Of course, one can use other writers as an example. The point is that we've become far too preoccupied with genres as well as "originality" for the sake of originality. I'm intrigued by the idea of "neo-Decadence," but I hope it isn't infatuated with historicism. I hope it's a continuation of the various themes explored by the great writers of the past, not a rejection of said themes because they're supposedly "outdated."

I'm not deliberately throwing punches at anyone here, so I hope no one misconstrues the above as a personal attack. I'm just disclosing my thoughts concerning the subject itself.

EDIT: In my perverse "worldview," Sophocles and Ligotti are contemporaries. They eat at the same table.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #13
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Re: Neo-Decadence

I don't like it when people slam old work just for being older work, but I also don't like it when people praise older work just for being older work, which happens far too often. Tradition for tradition's sake bothers me as much as modernity/progress for modernity/progress' sake.

That being said I think it's undeniable literature is in a worse place than it was, largely due to the illiteracy of the age and an increased disdain for artistry. I'm not at all in agreement that today's popular entertainment is as sophisticated as, generally speaking, the great Victorian novels were.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Neo-Decadence does not (and of its nature cannot) encompass all of literature. I write at this at greater length in my introduction, but what I am really comparing Neo-Decadence with is the original Decadence and modern attempts to imitate it (which largely fail because the authors fixate on period tropes).

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
I don't like it when people slam old work just for being older work, but I also don't like it when people praise older work just for being older work, which happens far too often. Tradition for tradition's sake bothers me as much as modernity/progress for modernity/progress' sake.
This tends to be my view too. In practice I find myself enjoying older works more often, but this is because they're often better written and tackle more interesting themes than modern stuff. There's no reason why people can't explore these problems as they emerge in a modern setting though (in fact it is imperative that they do).
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Where can I find the first Neo Decadent manifesto? And this AC Evans book? Unavailable everywhere

Last edited by luxfugio; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:48 AM..
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #16
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Reposting:

First Manifesto of Neo-Decadence

by Brendan Connell

1. Words are only words, a somewhat artificial simulation of nature, and should not be given too much importance. Slick writing should be tossed out like men with sweaty hands, mass-produced objects, and food in Styrofoam cups.

2. Never imitate yourself. The writing should be artificial and shallow, without contrived emotions. Then maybe something will be realised. There is already enough sadness in life. Soak the book in gasoline if it must be soaked in something.

3. Character development is synthetic. It should be resorted to only with a certain amount of shame.

4. If it be political let it lurch to the left, burrow underground so that tall buildings tumble off their hinges.

5. Story arcs should only be used to hang oneself with. Nothing is ever resolved. Nothing progresses.

6. Syntax should be dredged out of old books, trimmed off of far-away planets, stripped from dreams. Trivial things should be said in a grandiose manner meant to disgust collegiate scribblers and make the lips of pseudo-great novelists twist in anger.

7. Kublai Khan was a modern. Things fell apart a long time ago. We are already living in the ruins of civilisation. Thereís nothing to celebrate. When you toast, make sure you smash your glasses together. This kind of writing should be the same. Harmony is overrated.

8. Forget about the sound of cars, missiles, clever machines and originality, since nothing is less original. There are enough monsters and demons in the real world without needing to look elsewhere.

9. Great developments donít come about by listlessly trying to please the crowd. Theyíll forget in a minute. If the only thing left is a fragment, it better be good. If youíre lucky, youíll end up like some choliambic poet.

10. Thereís nothing wrong with writing a lousy book. Just make sure itís really lousy. There is nothing worse than competence.

11. Neo-Decadent writers will honour the fragmented, the contorted, the unfinished, the unpublished. Realising there is no glory, no reward, no lavish suppers or dancing on tables. Living in obscure lanes and remote canyons, things will be written in unread languages or translated from the language of lizards and snakes, plagiarised from deep wells and signed with hands wet with the dew of rotting fruit.

12. Nothing comes to an end. Let a little light shine through the darkness and remember that when the universe collapses in on itself you can read the novel back to front.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #17
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Re: Neo-Decadence

13. Neo-Decadent books need to be gestalt real-time reviewed, or it certainly helps.

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #18
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Amusing though it may be, this manifesto (as with Wilde's) frequently seems completely contrary to the best examples of the genre.

...unless Father Torturo/Tetrazinni and Dorian Gray are to be considered exceptionally poor executions of their authors' respective visions...
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #19
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Going by this review MIRROR DEAD by Magda McQueen. Book review | The British Fantasy Society "Mirror Dead" might be relevant to this thread.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #20
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Re: Neo-Decadence

A quote from that review:

"The price of £35.00 will be deemed high by some but its possession is worth every penny."

Ho ho ho... what lightweights.

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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