The term “Decadence“ derives from the Latin word “de“ which means “down” and the word “cadere” which means “to fall”. This shows that Decadence is about the downfall of something or someone. Even so, there are three related meanings that one has to think of when speaking about Decadence.
The first meaning is that Decadence stands for a society’s decay, which is a process that cannot be avoided and is signified by a society’s relation to the societies that have been there in the past. The second meaning shows a society’s fall from a position of strength and prosperity to a state of weakness and ruin. This suggests that it is an individual approach to life and that the decay of a society can be consciously committed.
The third meaning of Decadence is that it stands for the support of a social decay.
The first use of the word “Decadence” was in England about 1850. It can refer to a personal trait or to the state of a society and describes a lack of moral and intellectual discipline. Also, it could be discussed with relish and concern.
Most of the decadent societies are often prosperous and therefore have severe social and economic inequality. Because of this, the upper class becomes complacent or greedy, while the lower class becomes hopeless or apathetic. The middle class, however, may exhibit both or either of these patterns. A cause and a symptom of this is mostly a poor leadership of this particular society. The societies that persist in a state of Decadence may become unable to commit to their own upkeep and therefore fall into decline of their problems. Nowadays, the U. S. and Western Europe, the contemporary post – industrial societies, are sometimes accused of Decadence. The reason for this is, that in these societies consumerism, materialism and selfishness have eroded the traditional moral values of community, democracy and work ethic.
Coming to the decadent fiction. The decadent fiction...