Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the death drive in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) is in dialogue with a set of aesthetic and philosophical principles that inform literary Decadence around the turn of the century. It starts from an analysis of August Weismann’s scientific studies of evolution and mortality, developed in the late nineteenth century, which were influential with Freud. It then studies the features of a perverse desire for death that are found in the works of a number of key writers associated with Decadence, including Charles Baudelaire, Michael Field, A. E. Housman, Walter Pater, A. C. Swinburne, Oscar Wilde, and W. B. Yeats. Particular attention is paid to the connection between death and sexual desire and identity.

Keywords: Baudelaire, Decadence, death drive, Freud, homoeroticism, psychoanalysis, science, sexuality, Pater, Swinburne

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.