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Decadents, Symbolists, & Æsthetes in America


Image of Decadents, Symbolists, & Æsthetes in America

Unhappy with an America given over to industrialists, merchants, and money, writers at the end of the nineteenth century could retreat to New York's Moulds' Cafe, drink "Razzle-Dazzles" (absinthe mixed with ginger ale and cognac), listen to the poet Francis S. Saltus (reputedly the country's most brilliant talker), and discuss new books from London and Paris. Elsewhere in New York, gentleman poets and journalists adjourned at the end of the day to the Century Club, but the final destination for those who patronized Moulds' might instead be "Lafayette Place Baths," "open day and night." American literature and life could be much more colorful (and European) than history commonly admits.
Decadents, Symbolists, & Æsthetes in America brings together works by various late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American and Canadian poets: Conrad Aiken, Walter Conrad Arensberg, Ambrose Bierce, Gelett Burgess, Bliss Carman, Madison Cawein, Stephen Crane, Adelaide Crapsey, Donald Evans, John Gould Fletcher, Samuel Greenberg, Sadakichi Hartmann, Richard Hovey, James Gibbons Huneker, Archibald Lampman, Sidney Lanier, George Cabot Lodge, Amy Lowell, Stuart Merrill, William Vaughn Moody, Vincent O'Sullivan, Charles G. D. Roberts, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Francis S. Saltus, Duncan Campbell Scott, Frank Dempster Sherman, Clark Ashton Smith, George Sterling, Trumbull Stickney, Sara Teasdale, Vance Thompson, Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, Wilbur Underwood, Francis Viele-Griffin, and George Sylvester Viereck.
French Symbolists played a major role in shaping the poetics of much of the work anthologized here, and early translations of their poems by the writers Walter Conrad Arensberg, Gertrude Hall, Richard Hovey, James Huneker, Ludwig Lewisohn, and Stuart Merrill are included. The anthology opens with a selection of prose works by Walter Conrad Arensberg, Francis Grierson, Louise Imogen Guiney, Richard Hovey, James Huneker, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Stuart Merrill, Edgar Saltus, and Vance Thompson to give a fuller sense of literary life and values in fin-de-siècle America.