Luc van Braekel, managing editor of The Brussels Journal, has given generous and handsome treatment to my essay on “Poe and his Frenchman, and Baudelaire and his Americans.” The article is a worked-up version of remarks made at last November’s Baltimore meeting of the H. L. Mencken Club, whose theme was “decadence.” The subtitle is “The Bohemian Theory of Decadence.” The essay explores a line of influence passing from Joseph de Maistre and Edgar Allan Poe to Charles Baudelaire and from Baudelaire to a group of American genre-writers of the first half of the last century.
I offer a sample –
Baudelaire, following de Maistre, regarded modernity as a recursion to sacrifice; and quite on his own, Baudelaire also regarded modernity as effeminate, as an abdication of manhood hence also of procedure, discrimination, and moral rigor. For Juvenal, too, with an invocation of whom the present discourse began…
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