Decadence and S. K. Neumann – an Attempt at a Classical Interpretation

Decadence and S. K. Neumann – an Attempt at a Classical Interpretation

In European art, the end of the nineteenth century is clearly marked by the return to antiquity. This study deals with the reception and re-evaluation of the ancient tradition within the poetic work of Stanislav Kostka Neumann. The decadent period of Neumann’s work is characterized as a Dionysian-Da...

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Journal Title: Mundo Eslavo
Author: ¦těpán Sirovátka
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Language: English
Get full text: http://mundoeslavo.com/index.php/meslav/article/view/149
Resource type: Journal Article
Source: Mundo Eslavo; No 12 (Year 2013).
Publisher: Universidad de Granada
Usage rights: Reconocimiento (by)
Categories: Social Sciences/Humanities --> Humanities, Multidisciplinary
Abstract: In European art, the end of the nineteenth century is clearly marked by the return to antiquity. This study deals with the reception and re-evaluation of the ancient tradition within the poetic work of Stanislav Kostka Neumann. The decadent period of Neumann’s work is characterized as a Dionysian-Daedalic model. As an interpretation clue, the author has chosen Hocke’s and Curtius’ Great Mannerism theory, i.e. alternation  of manneristic and classical periods in European cultural history, and Nietzsche’s dichotomy of classical antiquity as a combination of Dionysian and Apollonian elements. The neomanneristic interpretation of Neumann’s work is supported by the interpretation of the decadent poetics as a new gnosis, although peculiarly received. Therefore, in this case, reception of antiquity may be viewed very broadly as a search for a common root, a cultural or anthropological constant extending through history; not merely as a straightforward reception of ancient motifs. Decadent poetics is also considered as a postmodern gesture which reflects the polytheistic point of view of antiquity. It is therefore a criticism of the modern society of the Enlightenment and Cartesian subjectivism by means of the return to archaic mythology. The decadent myth consists of the Dionysus cult on the one hand and the reception of gnosis on the other. Yet the classical motifs are ideologically re-evaluated according to temporal needs. Antiquity thus becomes a radical decadent gesture, intended as the response to the crisis of the modern and secularized society of the Enlightenment.