The Chapel of the Abyss
Blessèd be thine hands, for they are unclean!
At every joint lie secret sins unseen,
Their white nails beneath the lamp
Evoke hosts stolen beneath the white shadow of the lamp,
And upon thy finger, the captive opal’s gloss
Is the last sigh of Jesus on the cross.
- Remy de Gourmont, from Oraisons Mauvaises.
The Chapel of the Abyss is a virtual reliquary, a cenotaph devoted to the extravagant saints and angels who have fallen out of fashion and elsewhere. The kernel of this group is in the decadent and occult-themed literature of the 1890s and early 20th century. The focus, along with the theme, will continue to expand or metastasize as the mysteries of decay, of sickness, and of the wound, and their link to an original sin, perhaps one of omission, but nevertheless mortal and without appeal, are enduring and may be pursued at any point in time.
"And perhaps it was not perceptible to him in the midst of his tumultuous agitation, how much higher than all the voices of nature resounded here with a dissonant clamour the glaring disappropriation of all things - of the altar all the more majestic for being abandoned, of the useless lance, of the tomb as perturbing as a cenotaph, of the clock ticking for nothing outside of time, on which its gears had no more grip than a mill-wheel in a dried-up stream, of the lamp burning in full daylight, of the windows palpably made to be looked into from outside...."
- Julien Gracq, Chateau d'Argol
"Such is the nature of this place.... Horror and ecstasy abide here together."
- Fyodor Sologub, The Created Legend
"This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window. It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not, and this question of removal is one which I discuss incessantly with my soul."
- Charles Baudelaire
"It is always Autumn at Bruges.... The sameness of this terribly constant old city seems to intensify the change that has come to oneself."
- Ernest Dowson
In his classic novel of the occult, Là-Bas, Joris Huysmans wrote “Now from lofty Mysticism to base Satanism there is but one step. In the Beyond all things touch.” Essence becomes the surface of things: the priesthood of art and the cult of the senses. By piety or perversion- through prayer, or by "the rational derangement of all the senses" -one must obtain to the Beyond.
The decadent is concerned with the mysteries of the artificial, the urban, masks, the passion play of the self. The city is the pool of Narcissus, a black mirror in which to scry one’s own voluptuous postures of decay.
"Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things."
- Kakuzo Okakura
Over-refined, faithless and morbidly self-observant, the decadent is a mystic guided by "desire without light, curiosity without wisdom, seeking God by strange ways, by ways traced by the hands of men; offering rash incense upon the high places to an unknown God, who is the God of darkness." (Ernest Hello)
"The decadence is fundamentally a literature of deep religious concern."
- George Ross Ridge
One can keep to the well-worn way and aver that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, but entry demands devious routes. Christ thus advised the elect: go against nature, "Love one another as you love yourself."
For less hardy souls, sensual indulgence and depravity serve as stations of the cross. Severin’s journey into the dark and Durtal’s return to the Church indicate that the underlying theme is pilgrimage, quest (the dead end?)- if not for spiritual transcendence, then for moral transformation - for a new order of existence: to undertake oneself, "to create one's own aesthetic." The fate of Narcissus is henosis.
"Let everyone be his own lover...."
- Emile Hennequin
"I do not like inaccessible grandeur in mountains, nor in persons, nor in nature. I prefer, in all things, an honest moderation. Should one aspires to the ... sublime... one should at least go about it with discretion!"
- Auguste Villiers de L'Isle-Adam
"We hate the Crowd, the Law, the World."
- Renée Vivien
“I like the word ‘decadent,’ all shimmering with purple and gold … it throws out the brilliance of flames and the gleam of precious stones. It is made up of carnal spirit and unhappy flesh and of all the violent splendors of the Lower Empire; it conjures up the paint of the courtesans, the sports of the circus, the breath of the tamers of animals, the bounding of wild beasts, the collapse among the flames of races exhausted by the power of feeling, to the invading sound of enemy trumpets. The decadence is Sardanapalus lighting the fire in the midst of his women, it is Seneca declaiming poetry as he opens his veins, it is Petronius masking his agony with flowers.”
- Paul Verlaine
"And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution."
- C. P. Cavafy
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|Topics|| ||messages||Last message|| |
|Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803 - 1849)|| ||4||benwaugh, Monday 6:05pm|
|recent acquisitions|| ||39||paradoxosalpha, May 17|
|Graphic Arts|| ||4||benwaugh, May 11|
|Illustrators of Decadence|| ||149||benwaugh, May 4|
|Hanns Heinz Ewers|| ||96||Siderealpress, May 1|
|Poetry, quotes, etc.|| ||32||benwaugh, April 26|
|Presses of the Abyss|| ||96||kswolff, April 17|
|Music from the abyss, tres|| ||183||benwaugh, April 10|
|The Craft of Invective|| ||51||pgmcc, April 10|
|Tales of the occult and the supernatural|| ||58||kswolff, April 3|
|Artistic representations of Hermes, graphic and plastic|| ||17||benwaugh, March 23|
|Odds and ends|| ||310||kswolff, March 19|
|LeeRoy J. Tappan, The Meditations of Ali Ben Háfiz|| ||1||benwaugh, March 15|
|Sadakichi Hartmann, American decadent|| ||7||benwaugh, March 15|
|Beaux Monstres|| ||7||benwaugh, March 10|
|The Nightwatches of Bonaventura|| ||7||DavidX, February 24|
|Taxidermy and other hobbies ...|| ||8||kswolff, February 23|
|Film|| ||107||benwaugh, February 15|
|Death|| ||14||kswolff, February 8|
|The burning eyes|| ||38||DavidX, January 12|
|Modernisme Catala in literature|| ||3||benwaugh, January 11|
|Decadence and Catholicism|| ||14||kswolff, December 2016|
|Pics from the abyss|| ||130||kswolff, December 2016|
|Books I would like to see available in English translation|| ||136||Soukesian, December 2016|
|Opium Eaters|| ||28||kswolff, December 2016|
|Our man in Paris: Vincent O'Sullivan|| ||42||benwaugh, November 2016|
|It's Paul Leppin's birthday...|| ||1||veilofisis, November 2016|
|Citations Infernales|| ||74||kswolff, November 2016|
|Remy de Gourmont|| ||10||benwaugh, November 2016|
|Decadent women writers|| ||101||benwaugh, November 2016|
|Parisian Satanism and Catholicism|| ||8||LiminalSister, November 2016|
|Leonid Andreyev: Author, painter, photographer|| ||16||DavidX, October 2016|
|Emil Cioran: Philosopher of the Abyss|| ||14||elenchus, August 2016|
|Alfred Kubin|| ||14||CharlesFerdinand, August 2016|
|Parisian Satanism and Berthe de Courrière|| ||9||Soukesian, July 2016|
|Cannibalism|| ||40||arthurfrayn, July 2016|
|Anarchist World|| ||8||LiminalSister, July 2016|
|Ernst Jünger|| ||19||kswolff, June 2016|
|Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival|| ||4||paradoxosalpha, May 2016|
|Artificial Paradise|| ||11||kswolff, May 2016|
|Le Miasme d'Amour|| ||20||benwaugh, May 2016|
|Dandys, fops and swells|| ||99||kswolff, May 2016|
|Baltic decadents|| ||9||benwaugh, May 2016|
|Gabrielle Wittkop|| ||23||benwaugh, May 2016|
|William Theodore Peters|| ||3||benwaugh, May 2016|
|Literary Podcasts?|| ||5||timwtheov, April 2016|
|Sex|| ||47||kswolff, March 2016|
|The Scapigliatura movement|| ||41||bluepiano, February 2016|
|Eastern decadents|| ||35||benwaugh, February 2016|
|Blackstar: The Shrine to David Bowie|| ||6||benwaugh, January 2016|
|Current Reads #3|| ||37||kswolff, January 2016|
|East Euro Symbolists|| ||48||benwaugh, January 2016|
|The uncrowned King of Bohemia: George Sterling|| ||9||LiminalSister, January 2016|
|Algernon Charles Swinburne|| ||6||paradoxosalpha, November 2015|
|Kirsten Lodge: Scholar and Translator of Russian and Eastern European Decadents|| ||21||kswolff, November 2015|
|seeking le Fantome by Remy de Gourmont in English transaltion|| ||4||benwaugh, November 2015|
|El Modernismo|| ||64||benwaugh, November 2015|
|Decadence and the Great War|| ||6||kswolff, October 2015|
|Dedalus Books|| ||23||benwaugh, September 2015|
|Encounters with the Green Fairy|| ||45||benwaugh, September 2015|
|tobacco and it's many forms|| ||8||tros, September 2015|
|Hermann Hesse|| ||16||paradoxosalpha, September 2015|
|Patriotism and Decadence -- Junger, Mishima, D'Annunzio, and Spengler|| ||17||kswolff, August 2015|
|Munch|| ||1||tros, August 2015|
|sex and horror|| ||11||kswolff, July 2015|
|old favorites|| ||8||kswolff, July 2015|
|The Blue Horns: a Georgian symbolist/decadent group|| ||1||Vraxoin, May 2015|
|Kārlis Padegs (1911-1940), Latvian artist and dandy|| ||2||kswolff, May 2015|
|Morbo Germanicus: Oskar Panizza|| ||2||benwaugh, May 2015|
|Favorite translation of Flowers of Evil?|| ||39||benwaugh, March 2015|
|Clark Ashton Smith|| ||5||elenchus, February 2015|
|Frederic Soulié in English|| ||14||benwaugh, February 2015|
|Julien Gracq|| ||112||kswolff, January 2015|
|Bruno Schulz|| ||6||DavidX, January 2015|
|Frederick Rolfe|| ||9||kswolff, January 2015|
|True Detective|| ||8||kswolff, January 2015|
|Albert Samain in English translation|| ||6||benwaugh, January 2015|
|video: Dr Marco Pasi on Gustav Meyrink & His Esoteric Novels|| ||4||LiminalSister, December 2014|
|Petrus Borel and the Bouzingo|| ||1||benwaugh, December 2014|
|Calendrier Magique|| ||3||benwaugh, September 2014|
|The Black Douglas|| ||10||Soukesian, August 2014|
|Current reads? #2|| ||198||kswolff, August 2014|
|Decadent Architecture|| ||26||kswolff, July 2014|
|Gothics of note|| ||5||kswolff, July 2014|
|Joseph Conrad and the Decadence of Empire|| ||6||kswolff, July 2014|
|Yukio Mishima and the Erotics of Death|| ||1||kswolff, June 2014|
|The Black Sun|| ||3||anarchistbanjo, June 2014|
|Schwob|| ||6||zenomax, May 2014|
|Links|| ||127||kswolff, May 2014|
|Decadence and Decay in the Works of William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams|| ||13||kswolff, May 2014|
|Victorian Blood Book|| ||2||DavidX, May 2014|
|Music from the abyss, et tu|| ||210||kswolff, April 2014|
|Karl Hans Strobl|| ||20||anarchistbanjo, April 2014|
|Some Unknown Gulf of Night by W.H. Pugmire|| ||6||wilum, April 2014|
|Pimps and carnies|| ||61||kswolff, April 2014|
|Illustrated edition of La Bas|| ||8||arthurfrayn, March 2014|
|Call for Papers on Park Barnitz's BOOK OF JADE|| ||7||DavidX, March 2014|
|Decadence and the Sences|| ||2||cinnamonshops, February 2014|
|La Messe Noir by Dr. Gabriel Legue|| ||5||cinnamonshops, February 2014|
Group id: decadencethemetamorp
Created: Oct 20, 2006
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