Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Laura Eastlake

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198833031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198833031.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 July 2021

The Decadent Imagination

The Decadent Imagination

Nero, Pater, and Wilde

(p.189) 8 The Decadent Imagination
Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity

Laura Eastlake

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how aesthetes and decadents staked a competing claim to those Roman narratives of corruption and contagion outlined in Chapter 7. Beginning with a detailed analysis of Marius the Epicurean (1885), it shows how Walter Pater and his contemporaries sought to delink aestheticism from Gibbonian narratives of decline and fall, and to reclaim aesthetic masculinity from associations of moral and masculine deviance. The second part examines decadent authors such as Oscar Wilde, Villiers de L’Isle Adam, and George Moore, who adopted an equally recuperative, though more controversial approach to the ancient Roman past. Revelling in the more illicit and disturbing aspects of Roman history with a playfully self-parodic humour which is typical of the movement as a whole, and frequently voicing their affinity with the most notorious of Roman emperors—Nero—decadent writers appear be invested in a very genuine attempt to disassociate decadent ideologies from Gibbonian models of degeneration and decline.

Keywords:   classical reception, Rome, Victorian, masculinity, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Nero, decadence, aestheticism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .