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Three hundred years of decadence : New Orleans literature and the transatlantic world

Author: Robert Azzarello
Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2019] ©2019
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
New Orleans's reputation as a decadent city stems in part from its environmental precariousness, its Francophilia, its Afro-Caribbean connections, its Catholicism, and its litany of alleged 'vices,' encompassing prostitution, miscegenation, homosexuality, and any number of the seven deadly sins. An evocative work of cultural criticism, Robert Azzarello's Three Hundred Years of Decadence argues that decadence can  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Robert Azzarello
ISBN: 9780807170878 0807170879
OCLC Number: 1087502514
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; 1. New Orleans Decadence in Theory; 2. Colonial New Orleans, Beginnings to 1803; 3. American New Orleans, 1803 to 1865; 4. The Civil War to the Fin de Siècle, 1865 to 1900; 5. The Fin de Siècle to World War II, 1900 to 1945; 6. World War II to Hurricane Katrina, 1945 to 2005; 7. New Orleans after Katrina, 2005 to the Present; 8. The Decadent Future of New Orleans in Literature; Notes; Bibliography; Index
Responsibility: Robert Azzarello.

Abstract:

New Orleans's reputation as a decadent city stems in part from its environmental precariousness, its Francophilia, its Afro-Caribbean connections, its Catholicism, and its litany of alleged 'vices,' encompassing prostitution, miscegenation, homosexuality, and any number of the seven deadly sins. An evocative work of cultural criticism, Robert Azzarello's Three Hundred Years of Decadence argues that decadence can convey a more nuanced meaning than simple decay or decline conceived in physical, social, or moral terms. Instead, within New Orleans literature, decadence possesses a complex, even paradoxical relationship with concepts like beauty and health, progress, and technological advance. Azzarello presents the concept of decadence, along with its perception and the uneasy social relations that result, as a suggestive avenue for decoding the long, shifting story of New Orleans and its position in the transatlantic world. By analyzing literary works that span from the late seventeenth century to contemporary speculations about the city's future, Azzarello uncovers how decadence often names a transfiguration of values, in which ideas about supposed good and bad cannot maintain their stability and end up morphing into one another. These evolving representations of a decadent New Orleans, which Azzarello traces with attention to both details of local history and insights from critical theory, reveal the extent to which the city functions as a contact zone for peoples and cultures from Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Drawing on a deep and understudied archive of New Orleans literature, Azzarello considers texts from multiple genres (fiction, poetry, drama, song, and travel writing), including many written in languages other than English. His analysis includes such works of transcription and translation as George Washington Cable's 'Creole Slave Songs' and Mary Haas's Tunica Texts, which he places in dialogue with canonical and recent works about the city, as well as with neglected texts like Ludwig von Reizenstein's German-language serial The Mysteries of New Orleans and Charles Chesnutt's novel Paul Marchand, F.M.C. With its careful analysis and focused scope, Three Hundred Years of Decadence uncovers the immense significance'historically, politically, and aesthetically'that literary imaginings of a decadent New Orleans hold for understanding the city's position as a multicultural, transatlantic contact zone.

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