Thursday, September 02, 2010

Remy de Gourmount: Decadence and other Essays on the Culture of Ideas

A wonderfully decadent collection, available for free Here at Google Books. When I checked out Remy de Gourmont I didn't really have any idea of what I was dealing with. I knew that he was one of the Decadents from France, but I don't think that I was prepared for his point of view. The essays start out so simply, they have innocent sounding titles, but then things take a turn for the worse and enter territory way beyond that which you'd expect. Take the first essay "The Disassociation of Ideas". It starts out pretty simple:
"There are two ways of thinking. One can either accept current ideas and associations of ideas, just as they are, or else undertake, on his own account, new associations or, what is rare, original disassociations. The intelligence capable of such efforts is, more or less, according to the degree, or according to the abundance and variety of its other gifts, a creative intelligence"

Who would have thought that a main point of the essay would be to praise unbridled carnality and to disprove the idea that Justice is a relevant concept in today's world?

This is but one example. I heartily recommend it, even if I don't agree with all of Gourmont's conclusions, for example the whole justice being wrong business.

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