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  • 1.
    Allard, Marcus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication.
    Gentlemen - en degenerationsroman?: Dekadensen i Klas Östergrens Gentlemen2010Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This essay examines the importance of decadence in the generational novel Gentlemen (1980) by Klas Östergren. The aim is partly to draw attention to a neglected authorship, partly to apply a theory that can illuminate Gentlemen. That is why I ask how decadence is reflected in the novel's main characters, community atmosphere and form.

    My definition of decadence is based on Paul Bourget's Theorie de la decadence (1883), in which he portrays society, individuals and the language's decline. With these thoughts in mind, I assume a broad definition of decadence that focuses on man's ambivalence towards life in a world that is fallen in sense of values. The theory of decadence is thus the starting point of this analysis through close reading, where I discern prominent aspects of decadence.

    Especially significant is the so-called Makten (The Force), and its claims for loyalty, as a cause of apocalyptic atmosphere. In order to deal with this dark, contemporary period, art becomes a refuge in similar ways as the artificial paradises of the Decadent era. Henry, like a dandy turns himself and his comforting everyday rituals into art; Leo, faithful to his disloyalty, tries to uncover the truth about the lies of Makten in his poetry; and Klas the narrator tells the truth about Henry and Leo by writing Gentlemen. By a homodiegetic narrator the characters are dissolved into their actions and the plot into details. Thus, both the book's aesthetics and themes can be traced to decadence.

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