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The Devil's Advocates
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It is a feat to demystify decadence genially while dealing with unsavory material usually presented complicitously. But Whissen achieves even more. He is not looking at counterculture literature but at mainstream literature in which the reader either senses something decadent in the writer's attitude or identifies some rhetorical device associated with the decadence... He focuses chiefly on authors who have been studied from other perspectives (e.g., Gide Mann, James, Dinesen) or who have hardly been studied at all (e.g., Maugham, Firbank, Capote, Suesskind, Stephen King). Choice

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction In Pursuit of Pleasure Pride and Preciousness Supping with the Devil The Cult of the Self A Vast Carelessness Strangers in Purgatory In Pursuit of Pain The Heel of Achilles Conclusion Bibliography Index

About the Author

THOMAS REED WHISSEN is Professor of English at Wright State University. He is the author of A Way with Words, Components of Composition, Isak Dinesen's Aesthetics, and journal articles and has contributed chapters on topics in literature and composition.

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"It is a feat to demystify decadence genially while dealing with unsavory material usually presented complicitously. But Whissen achieves even more. He is not looking at counterculture literature but at mainstream literature in which the reader either senses something decadent in the writer's attitude or identifies some rhetorical device associated with the decadence. Basically, decadents evince a feeling of superiority toward the Other--assuming that the Other is the mass and the measure--for being Other, and they express this superiority in rhetoric that is self-reflective. So, although Whissen takes Huysmans' A rebours (1884) as the decadence breviary and C.E.M. Joad's Decadence (1948) as the key philosophical analysis (a fairly traditional procedure in the study of this movement), aside from Wilde and Beardsley, he focuses chiefly on authors who have been studied from other perspectives (e.g., Gide, Mann, James, Dinesen) or who have hardly been studied at all (e.g., Maugham, Firbank, Capote, Suesskind, Stephen King)."-Choice
?It is a feat to demystify decadence genially while dealing with unsavory material usually presented complicitously. But Whissen achieves even more. He is not looking at counterculture literature but at mainstream literature in which the reader either senses something decadent in the writer's attitude or identifies some rhetorical device associated with the decadence. Basically, decadents evince a feeling of superiority toward the Other--assuming that the Other is the mass and the measure--for being Other, and they express this superiority in rhetoric that is self-reflective. So, although Whissen takes Huysmans' A rebours (1884) as the decadence breviary and C.E.M. Joad's Decadence (1948) as the key philosophical analysis (a fairly traditional procedure in the study of this movement), aside from Wilde and Beardsley, he focuses chiefly on authors who have been studied from other perspectives (e.g., Gide, Mann, James, Dinesen) or who have hardly been studied at all (e.g., Maugham, Firbank, Capote, Suesskind, Stephen King).?-Choice

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