Over the years a series of different types of cultural movements of all kinds have emerged , among the most recognized we can find decadentism , a movement of literary origin and content whose origins date back to the French people and whose influence managed to remain for many years in the XIX century.

Related topics

Abstract expressionism , post-impressionism , symbolism ,  classicism , cubism , futurism , neoclassicism , romanticism

What is decadentism?

Decadentism is an artistic , philosophical but mainly literary movement . It is a term that reflects the change in the economy of the economy free flow of large financial firms that produced a delay economic to later renew the productive system.

  • Characteristics of decadentism
  • Origin
  • History
  • Decadentism in art
  • Literary decadentism
  • Mexican decadentism
  • Importance
  • Authors
  • Plays

Characteristics of decadentism

One of the main characteristics of decadentism focused on the antithesis of the poetic movement belonging to the Parnassians (literary movement of French origin) who were inspired by classical art. He was always against everything related to morals and sought to evade the reality that was lived daily, on the other hand, exalting individual heroism , thus exploring the deepest fibers of sensitivity and the human unconscious.

He also sought to highlight the aristocracy , everything fine, beautiful, hidden things and the different feelings of the human being. The movement was also characterized by presenting an intense taste for originality, seeking to move away from the models of classical literature , since for them, these only led them to immobility . It was a movement that did not give much importance to the meaning of the words, on the contrary, they did not follow laws of syntax, they simply sought that there was beauty in them. They discarded traditional rhetoric and classicism to find the best way to express the feelings and anxieties of the human being.

The movement also had two main tendencies, one of which was based on pessimism, completely rejecting the will to live, considering aesthetics as the only way to achieve true happiness. On the other hand, there was the voluntarist tendency , and in it man was seen as a superior being, who could even be beyond good and evil.


Decadentism has its origins in France and emerged between the 1960s and 1980s. During the 19th century , this new literary trend emerged as an indirect consequence of Parnassianism as a way of expressing the forbidden, the unpleasant, and the strange.


The history of this literary movement has been deeply studied and analyzed due to the close union with other different tendencies such as Parnassianism and Estheticism . Its main exponent was Baudelaire, who established the union and relationship between sounds, colors, the hidden and the unity that existed in nature. Decadentism is considered to base its history on the political causes that arose in antiquity, however many decadent natives of France did not use this movement to show the decline of society, but used it in the realm of letters.

Throughout its history, there were many misunderstandings regarding uses and what the movement wanted to represent. Many experts consider that the movement established the decline in the art and literature of the place. The key moment of its appearance occurred in the year 1868, thanks to Théophile Gautier . In the year 1885, the decadent school in France was founded in which important poets developed.

Decadentism in art

In art, mainly in painting, decadentism included a series of artificial and slightly strange themes. It was a movement that had different artistic currents, thus producing a revolution both in content and in the way art was represented, with a greater number of symbols and aesthetic mystique. In the field of painting, its main representatives were the so-called symbolists, a movement that originated in France.

Literary decadentism

In the literary field, Decadentism focused on pessimistically representing human existence and morbidly establishing the signs that show the decline of man , the corruption of morals, cruelty , sick feelings and depravity .

He was linked to sadness , melancholy, tiredness and boredom . It was the way that like-minded artists found to express their desires for superiority because they considered themselves the chosen ones in a world full of doom.

Mexican decadentism

It was during the time of the Porfiriato in Mexico that they began to seek further growth by imitating important places such as France, in such a way that, at a certain point, Decadentism managed to enter the country. During this stage, many new institutions were opened and the infrastructure of the place grew, but, in the midst of this growth, a series of positions based on dictatorship as a form of government, intolerance and rejection of the opposite also emerged. to order and progress.

In Mexico, the artistic trend was first put into practice by José Juan Tablada, Alberto Leduc, Jesús Valenzuela, Ciro Ceballos and Rubén Campos. It was they, among many others, who decided to adopt the movement in the midst of a society that was based on conservatism , that was full of great prejudices and that, moreover, were attached above all to religion .

The main objective of Mexican artists was to use literature as a means to express and reflect through satires the environment in which they lived, using sadism and vices in their writings to show social emancipation . They focused on showing personalities who rejected their destiny and who were far from reality. They violently displayed their thoughts and had a strong drive to achieve everything that had been previously denied.


The importance of movement is based on the ability that artists had to express their feelings and thoughts without being tied to an ancient current, gave great importance to the correct meaning of words and the search for introspection of the sensations of the unconscious in order to thus express feelings, thoughts and anxieties.


Among the main authors of Decadentism we can mention:

  • Jean lombard
  • Jane de la Vaudère «Jeanne Scrive»
  • José María Llanas Aguilaniedo
  • Ramón María del Valle Inclán
  • Salvador Rueda and Santos
  • José Juan Tablada


Some works recognized worldwide are the following:

  • The Flowers of Evil , by Charles Baudelaire
  • Verlaine’s Cursed Poets
  • Against the grain of Joris Karl Huysmans
  • The Vatard Sisters of Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • The Ghost of Canterville by Oscar Wilde
  • Imaginary Portraits of Walter Horatio Pater
  • Giovanni Pascoli’s convivial poems


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