Decadence has been described as :'the search for the ultimate frisson, a flirtation with cruelty, a sterile and perverse sexuality, an exhausted and passive sense of dissolution and a degenerate satanism'. The Dedalus Book of German Decadence shows that the German contribution to this European phenomenon rivals, and frequently exceeds, the French masters. The wayward and degenerate talent of Martens, Holitscher, Przybyszewski and Ewers were matched in Austria by Sacher-Masoch and the habitues of the coffee houses (so well portrayed by Hermann Bahr), and in Prague by Paul Leppin and other young writers.
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