The fin-de-siècle is a French expression which means “the end of the century”, particularly the end of the 19th century. After the Vienna Congress in 1819, Europe was dominated bythree great powers that defeated Napoleon: Russia, Germany, and Prussia. The monarchs were absolutist and very conservative.
20 years later Europe would know a period of economic and social crisis.The population submitted to the European order established under the Vienna Congress. This would lead to a series of revolutionary movements, also called “the Spring of Nations”. It would take placeall across Europe, as the March revolution in Germany or the Austrian revolution, for example. Those revolutionaries asked for Nations, more liberties and civil rights, a constitutional limitation ofthe state power, and citizens' equality. Those movements were inspired by the French revolution of 1789 and the ideas of the enlightenment philosophers, most of all by the idea of “natural law”. Thespring of nations would be defeated; however, from 1870 one can speak about the peak of European expansion.
New ways of thinking, such as aestheticism, are developed during this colorful andeventful century, in reaction to the multiple changes created by society.
---The Decadent mouvement---
In Europe, there was a movement called naturalism, which seeks to introduce in novels themethod of social sciences applied to literature, a more limited conception of realism, whose precursor was Emile Zola with his novel, Therese Raquin.
With the poems of Baudelaire (Appendix 1),there is the beginning of a new movement called "decadence". The poet became the precursor after his death. As its name suggests, the philosophical basis for decadence takes the idea of decline, it isoften combined with the lexical field of blackness and monstrosity, and it is opposed to naturalism.
The decadent artist is primarily a melancholic pessimist who saw evil in his century. Baudelaire,...