Brainstorming Decadence, Decadent(s), Oscar Wilde (Classroom Exercise, 9/24)

Where We Start, What We Seem to Know

At the beginning of this course, what do you associate with the terms “decadence”/”decadent(s)” and “Oscar Wilde,” respectively?

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This exercise is wide open and meant to take stock of our common brain as we start the course: our initial inventory of ideas, questions, or expectations regarding the overall guiding terms at the start of our course.  We’ll get back to this list later, to compare, edit, and enhance it with some of the most important things we’ve learned. Let’s get started!


  • the so-called “Yellow Nineties”  petradt
  • cross-dressing, gender-bending–MP
  • royalty/high society, Marie Antoinette, “let them eat cake”- J.S.W.
  • wealth, splendour, magnificence- DF
  • Overindulgence, money, wealth, excess -MG
  • art for art’s sake – A.A.


  • today, the adjective “decadent” is often used pejoratively, but sometimes also half-admiringly or even jealously (“three desserts–that’s so decadent!”)  petradt
  • gilded, shallow, ornate, awe-inspiring- DF
  • Frivolous, flashy, society-MG
  • absinthe, opium, dark Parisian alleyways-R.C.

“Oscar Wilde”

  • people often assume Wilde was English, but he was actually born and raised in Dublin, Ireland.  Paris (not London, Dublin, or Rome) was his favorite city, so he was doubly self-exiled in terms of his artistic community. How might this become significant in this course?  petradt
  • witty, romantic, florid, intellectual- DF
  • Sharp, misunderstood, artistic, scandal -MG


Filed under Exercises

2 responses to “Brainstorming Decadence, Decadent(s), Oscar Wilde (Classroom Exercise, 9/24)

  1. Pingback: Defining Decadence: A Few More Thoughts (Open Forum) | Oscar Wilde and the French Decadents

  2. Gwen Stefani ~ The front woman of one of the most successful
    pop bands of recent years, No Doubt, has secured their place in music history.
    Just because your ex boyfriend has a new girl on his arm doesn’t mean he’s forgotten all about you.
    Often, Jackie would invite artists to the White House social events to mingle with various politicians from around the world.

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