Nordic Literature of Decadence fills a gap on the map of world literature and participates in a thriving area of research by extending the investigation of broadly understood fin de siècle decadence to unexplored areas of Nordic literature, which remain practically unknown to Anglophone audiences. In the Nordic countries the new Parisian movements were seen as having caused a malicious invasion, a ‘black flood’ that was spreading over the North destroying the very foundations of Nordic national cultures. Nevertheless, the appeal of this controversial movement was irresistible to discontents and innovators, even in countries where the old moral, religious and nationalist atmosphere still retained its stranglehold and modern urban, industrial and social developments lagged behind that of the metropoles breeding this new literature and art.

The Nordic countries developed their own distinctive manifestations of decadence favouring allegorical and allusive forms, local rural settings and depictions of primitive nature, coupling the philosophical underpinnings of fin-de-siècle decadence with ancient Nordic mythology and rising national movements. Nordic decadence thus became a distinctive and recognizable phenomenon, which travelled back to France and other European countries, influencing the ongoing debate on decadence as it was conducted on a global scale.

Nordic Literature of Decadence discusses literature from five Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia and offers additional and alternative perspectives to the cosmopolitan traffic and cultural exchanges of literary decadence that have been explored so far in the English language scholarship.

part Part I|37 pages


chapter 1|37 pages

Decadence in Nordic Literature

An Overview
ByPirjo Lyytikäinen, Riikka Rossi, Viola Parente-Čapková, Mirjam Hinrikus

part Part II|17 pages

Nordic and European Decadences

chapter 2|17 pages

Through Decadence to Vitalism

ByLis Norup

chapter 4|15 pages

Decadence and Religious Longing in Arne Garborg’s Weary Men

ByGuri Ellen Barstad

part Part III|17 pages

Rural Decadences

chapter 5|17 pages

Passions against the Grain

Decadent Emotions in Finnish Wilderness
ByPirjo Lyytikäinen

chapter 6|17 pages

Alroy and Uncas in the Finnish Countryside

Decadent Bovarism in Joel Lehtonen’s Villi
ByAntti Ahmala

chapter 7|17 pages

Primitivism and Spiritual Emotions

F. E. Sillanpää’s Rural Decadence
ByRiikka Rossi

part Part IV|18 pages

Decadent Troubles with Gender

chapter 8|18 pages

Spaces of Decadence

A Decadent New Woman’s Journey from the City to the Bog
ByViola Parente-Čapková

chapter 9|18 pages

Decadence and Female Subjectivity in Dagny Juel’s Prose Poems

ByAnne Birgitte Rønning

part Part V|19 pages

Decadence and the Trouble with Modern Culture

chapter 10|19 pages

Theoretically European and/or Upstart?

Decadence in an Estonian key
ByMirjam Hinrikus

part Part VI|20 pages

The North in European Decadence

chapter 12|20 pages

The Time of Ola Hansson

Translating Scandinavian Decadence in fin de siècle France and England
ByStefano Evangelista

chapter 13|16 pages

“Flights to the North”

Nordic Settings in Fin de Siècle French Literature
ByMelanie Hawthorne

chapter 14|16 pages

Nordic Devotions: Gothic Art as Erotic Affect

J.-K. Huysmans’ Decadent Gothic Moderns
ByJuliet Simpson

part Part VII|18 pages


chapter |18 pages

The Specters of Decadence in Later Nordic Literature

ByPirjo Lyytikäinen, Riikka Rossi, Viola Parente-Čapková, Mirjam Hinrikus