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.