“You’re like a lighthouse shining beside the sea of humanity, motionless: all you can see is your own reflection in the water. You’re alone, so you think it’s a vast, magnificent panorama. You haven’t sounded the depths. You simply believe in the beauty of God’s creation. But I have spent all this time in the water, diving deep into the howling ocean of life, deeper than anyone. While you were admiring the surface, I saw the shipwrecks, the drowned bodies, the monsters of the deep.”
– Alfred de Musset.
“The habit is now confirmed in me of spending the greater part of the day in sleep, while by night I wander far and wide through the city under the sedative influence of a tincture which has become necessary to my life.”
– M.P. Shiel.
“An age which is incapable of poetry is incapable of any kind of literature except the cleverness of a decadence.”
“(Baudelaire) had descended to the bottom of the inexhaustible mine, had picked his way along abandoned or unexplored galleries, and had finally reached those districts of the soul where the monstrous vegetations of the sick mind flourish. There, near the breeding ground of intellectuals aberrations and disease of the mind – the mysterious tetanus, the burning fever of lust, the thyphoids and yellow fevers of crime – he had found, hatching in the dismal forcing-house of ennui, the frightening climacteric of thoughts and emotions.”
“No, no, don’t let my vulnerable heart share in this sacrifice to lust! Let him disgust me before pleasing me! Let him be what others have been, an instrument that I can break before becoming the echoes of its vibration.”
“The decadent artist markets other people’s pain.”
– Jennifer Birkett.
“I definitely consider ‘Poses’ – the whole album in fact – to be kind of a miracle. Like the last breath of that moment when decadence is healthy, ‘Poses’ encapsulates that feeling. It’s a kind of song and a kind of album that I’ll never be able to repeat.”
“The Devil pulls the strings which make us dance;
We find delight in the most loathsome things;
Some furtherance of Hell each new day brings,
And yet we feel no horror in that rank advance.”
– Charles Baudelaire.
“It is a self-deception of philosophers and moralists to imagine that they escape decadence by opposing it. That is beyond their will; and, however little they acknowledge it, one later discovers that they were among the most powerful promoters of decadence.”
“We men of this age are rotten with book-lore and with a yearning for the past.”
– James Elroy Flecker.
“After two years’ absence she finally returned to chilly Europe, a trifle weary, a trifle sad, disgusted by our banal entertainments, our shrunken landscapes, our impoverished lovemaking. Her soul had remained over there, among the gigantic, poisonous flowers. She missed the mystery of old temples and the ardor of a sky blazing with fever, sensuality and death. The better to relive all these magnificent, raging memories, she became a recluse, spending entire days lying about on tiger skins, playing with those pretty Nepalese knives ‘which dissipate one’s dreams’.”
– Octave Mirbeau.
“Decline is also a form of voluptuousness, just like growth. Autumn is just as sensual as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.”
– Iwan Goll.
“They had…finished their lives before their death – which is not always the end of life and often comes long before the end.”
-Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly.
“All was calm and motionless in the wondrous Garden, and the marvelously brilliant flowers seemed breathless; and they suffused the Youth with a scent which made the head whirl and oppressed the heart with a sinister languor—a scent which was reminiscent of the obscure, rushing, thirsting sighs of vanilla, cyclamen, datura and lily, of evil and fateful flowers which in dying themselves destroy, bewitching with a mysterious death.The Youth resolutely decided to make his way into the wondrous Garden, to inhale the mysterious fragrances which the Beauty inhaled, and gain her love even though the price might be life itself, even though the road to it might be a fatal road, a road of no return.”
– Valery Bryusov.