Patriotism and Decadence -- Junger, Mishima, D'Annunzio, and Spengler
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Do Patriotism and Decadence need to be thought of in terms of binary oppositions? Can one be a Decadent Patriot? Can a Decadent Patriotism be a viable thing?
Besides, given that many if not most famous decadent writers were of right wing disposition, an inclination to "patriotism" would seem almost inevitable.
Wilde is the only great counterexample I can think of.
Personally, I see the revolution being glam:
Another good source text is The Bullet's Song: Romantic Violence and Utopia by William Pfaff His Wrath of Nations: Civilization and the Furies of Nationalism is also worth reading. "Bullet's Song" has great profiles of D'Annunzio and DH Lawrence, among others. "Wrath of Nations" asks the important question, Is fascism a national or international phenomenon?
although I havenʻt read much of him
beyond his great Auf den Marmorklippen.
I hate to see him on the same list as
Curiosity: what was "decadent" about him?
His militarism, like Mishima's, was homoerotic, and like Mishima he was a reactionary, homosexual, misogynist, and pseudo-macho queen, but a far more unsavoury character. He also committed suicide.
It can be presumed that Christ's teeth also tore flesh to satiate that part of him that was man.
Perhaps "transcendence" is deep estrangement, psychosis.
Kenneth Patchen, from A Letter to God:
"I first went to school in a town of steel. The boys had faces like thin cats - the geography of evil; the history of monsters - I want to remind you that I understand little in your sense. Some times I pick up a stone in the street, and just hold it in my hand. That may have nothing to do with present difficulties in the world; but it gives me pleasure and can cause no ultimate harm to anyone. I was fifteen before I got all of myself in. Until then I seemed to smile when I felt angry, grit my teeth together when expected to talk. My clothes never pleased me in color or in the way they felt when I took them off at night. They were like the skin of an animal I knew nothing about. The same with my teeth: often they were cold and felt too sharp in my mouth."
I think I meant it more as an indictment of American life in the 1950s. Because during the Fifties there was a general lust for conformity all over this country, by no means only in the suburbs—a kind of blind, desperate clinging to safety and security at any price. -- DeWitt Henry
Or is it gauche to see the book as nothing more than wealthy suburbanites whining about First World Problems?
"Must we agree with Baudelaire, speaking about Choderlos de Laclos, that revolutions are always made by voluptuaries?" -- Bernard-Henry Levy on Philippe Sollers
In brief, the myth of the Gay Nazi has been overblown and lacks historical credibility. Although Ernst Rohm's homosexuality -- and the homosocial nature of military life -- complicates the picture.
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