decadence from dedalus, fin de siecle, French literature, Journal of Decadence, L'Morte Amoreuse, My Fantoms, Romantic movement, Symbolists, The Mummy's Foot, Theophile Gautier, third eye cinema podcast
Those “in the know” may have already detected a note of disingenousness in the titling of this review, as it makes a bit of a stylistic leap in directly associating Theophile Gautier with the French Decadent movement of the fin de siecle. Because while the writing style remains close enough in sensibility and aesthetics to be quite readable, it becomes glaringly apparent from the outset: Toto, we’re not in Decadence anymore.
In point of fact, while he does boast strong ties to both the members and stylistic flourishes of the Decadents, Theophile Gaultier is, in essence, more truthfully described as belonging to one of the related literary and philosophical movements of the Romantic. or perhaps even Symbolist in style.
While his focus is indeed on the aesthetic, and stories tend to revolve around the doomed (or at least weakened by passion, dreams, and implied opiate usage) hero at the mercy of the cruel feminine, there’s a distinct difference, a certain je ne sais quoi that puts him closer to a particular strain of archaism more commonly found in the weird tale of the period (which movement and style he also straddles).