From the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bad Religion, a powerful portrait of how our turbulent age is defined by dark forces seemingly beyond our control Today the Western world seems to be in crisis. But beneath our social media frenzy and reality television politics, the deeper reality is one of drift, repetition, and dead ends. The Decadent Society explains what happens when a rich and powerful society ceases advancing—how the combination of wealth and technological proficiency with economic stagnation, political stalemates, cultural exhaustion, and demographic decline creates a strange kind of “sustainable decadence,” a civilizational languor that could endure for longer than we think. Ranging from our grounded space shuttles to our Silicon Valley villains, from our blandly recycled film and television—a new Star Wars saga, another Star Trek series, the fifth Terminator sequel—to the escapism we’re furiously chasing through drug use and virtual reality, Ross Douthat argues that many of today’s discontents and derangements reflect a sense of futility and disappointment—a feeling that the future was not what was promised, that the frontiers have all been closed, and that the paths forward lead only to the grave. In this environment we fear catastrophe, but in a certain way we also pine for it—because the alternative is to accept that we are permanently decadent: aging, comfortable and stuck, cut off from the past and no longer confident in the future, spurning both memory and ambition while we wait for some saving innovation or revelations, growing old unhappily together in the glowing light of tiny screens. Correcting both optimists who insist that we’re just growing richer and happier with every passing year and pessimists who expect collapse any moment, Douthat provides an enlightening diagnosis of the modern condition—how we got here, how long our age of frustration might last, and how, whether in renaissance or catastrophe, our decadence might ultimately end.
the decadent society
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Looks at the decline of the Roman Empire, the French monarchy, the Romanovs of Russia, and the British Empire and identifies the characteristics that accompany the demise of a culture
A Publishers Weekly Best Books of Summer Selection From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes the latest sexy tale of three untamable dukes and the women who ignite their decadent desires . . . HE MAY BE A DEVIL He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . . BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . . Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . . Madeline Hunter’s novels are: “Brilliant, compelling. . . . An excellent read.” —The Washington Post “Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly
He is the last duke standing . . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist. The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion . . . Madeline Hunter’s novels are: “Brilliant, compelling. . . . An excellent read.” —The Washington Post “Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly “Pure passion.” —Booklist
Beginning with a widespread definition of Decadence as when individual parts flourish at the expense of the whole, Regenia Gagnier - a leading cultural historian of late nineteenth-century Britain - shows the full range of meanings of individualism at the height of its promise.
Download the ebook edition for bonus content! NOTORIOUS NOBLEMAN SEEKS REVENGE Name and title: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton. Affiliation: London’s elite Society of Decadent Dukes. Family history: Scandalous. Personality traits: Dark and brooding, with a thirst for revenge. Ideal romantic partner: A woman of means, with beauty and brains, willing to live with reckless abandon. Desire: Clara Cheswick, gorgeous daughter of his family’s sworn enemy. FAINT OF HEART NEED NOT APPLY Clara may be the woman Adam wants, but there’s one problem: she’s far more interested in publishing her women’s journal than getting married—especially to a man said to be dead-set on vengeance. Though, with her nose for a story, Clara wonders if his desire for justice is sincere—along with his incredibly unnerving intention to be her husband. If her weak-kneed response to his kiss is any indication, falling for Adam clearly comes with a cost. But who knew courting danger could be such exhilarating fun? Madeline Hunter’s novels are: “Brilliant, compelling . . . An excellent read.” —The Washington Post “Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly “Pure passion.” —Booklist
Traces the decline of Christianity in America since the 1950s, posing controversial arguments about the role of heresy in the nation's downfall while calling for a revival of traditional Christian practices.
In Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture, Andrew Huddleston offers a new interpretation of the views of the influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) on cultural decadence and flourishing. Whereas Nietzsche is often thought to be the champion of the isolated great individual, Huddleston argues that there is a deeply collectivist (though radically inegalitarian) strand to his thinking. He challenges the prevalentreading of Nietzsche as an individualist, identifying him instead as a more social thinker who appreciated collective cultural achievements. Using Nietzsche's ideal of a flourishing culture, and his diagnostics ofcultural malaise, as a point of departure for reconsidering many of the central themes in his ethics and social philosophy, Huddleston strikes a balance between situating Nietzsche in his nineteenth century context while also considering the ongoing relevance of his ideas.
The history of decadent culture runs from ancient Rome to nineteenth-century Paris, Victorian London, fin de siècle Vienna, Weimar Berlin, and beyond. The decline of Rome provides the pattern for both aesthetic and social decadence, a pattern that artists and writers in the nineteenth century imitated, emulated, parodied, and otherwise manipulated for aesthetic gain. What begins as the moral condemnation of modernity in mid-nineteenth century France on the part of decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire ends up as the perverse celebration of the pessimism that accompanies imperial decline. This delight in decline informs the rich canon of decadence that runs from Joris-Karl Huysmans's À Rebours to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, Gustav Klimt's paintings, and numerous other works. In this Very Short Introduction, David Weir explores the conflicting attitudes towards modernity present in decadent culture by examining the difference between aesthetic decadence--the excess of artifice--and social decadence, which involves excess in a variety of forms, whether perversely pleasurable or gratuitously cruel. Such contrariness between aesthetic and social decadence led some of its practitioners to substitute art for life and to stress the importance of taste over morality, a maneuver with far-reaching consequences, especially as decadence enters the realm of popular culture today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.