chapter
Decadence
Pages 12

In its most general sense, decadence (Latin: de, down, and cadere, to fall) refers to a person or society’s loss of health, power, morals, or economic growth, as well as any appreciation or support of such changes. Major prenineteenth-century literary discussions of decadence include Charles-Louis le Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu’s Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (1734), Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (17761788), and the works of the Marquis de Sade. The first known use of the term decadence in English is in Thomas Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution (1837).