Baudelaire, degeneration theory, and literary criticism in fin de siecle Spain.
The three aims of this article are to pose a question, to redress an omission, and to engage with a preconception in respect of the fin de siecle. The first aim derives directly from the circumstances that bring together the four elements in the title. The second and third derive indirectly from these same circumstances, but it is as necessary to address them as it is to seek an answer to the question.
The question to be posed is this: to what extent did a mode of critical discourse on literature--one that claimed to be grounded in scientific psychology, itself inspired and informed by developments in the biological sciences--that emerged and gained a certain prominence during the period constitute a significant departure from the critical practice hitherto predominant? In other words, to what extent can this critical approach be considered authentically innovative during a period of cultural history when, as the term fin de siecle implies, a sense of the old and of decline was as acute as that of the new and of rebirth?
The omission to be redressed concerns the prevalent approach to study of the fin de siecle. The fin de siecle is acknowledged to be an international phenomenon. Nevertheless, it continues to be studied predominantly from the perspective of discrete national or linguistic manifestations. In some cases so pervasive is this focus that the cosmopolitan dimension of the fin de siecle is lost from sight as the home-grown variant monopolizes attention. To cite just one instance, of the seventy-seven extracts gathered in a recently published introductory 'reader' to the fin de siecle, only nine had not originally been published in Britain by British or native English-speaking authors. Seven of these nine inclusions, moreover, are English translations of the originals made in the late 1890s or early 1900s and so have already been filtered through an Anglocentric selection process. What is more, the view that reference to a nationally specific 'Victorian' fin de siecle is legitimate and unproblematic is taken for granted. (1) The persistence of national literature both as a concept in literary criticism and theory (including comparative literature) and as a principle of organization in university departments of literary studies may go a long way to explaining this trend. Moreover, this quite possibly serves to disguise some of the limitations of the study of literature from a uniquely or exclusively national perspective. A second objective of this article is thus to foreground how the international is always at play in national manifestations of the fin de siecle.
The preconception with which the discussion is to engage may also explain instances of excessive national specificity in the study of the period under examination. The assumption in question would have it that national cultures considered to be peripheral within the context of the fin de siecle merit this designation by virtue of an imperviousness to the developments that characterize fin de siecle culture; that they were, in effect, unreceptive, immune, or even hostile to the influences at work during the period. The third aspiration, then, is to counter this assumption.
In pursuit of these aims this article will explore the reaction in a Spanish context of literary critics versed in degeneration theory to the work of Charles Baudelaire. The Theory of Degeneration articulated the belief that individuals, groups, and even whole societies could not only progress up the evolutionary scale, but also regress or remain static, leaving their evolutionary potential unfulfilled or thwarted. The latter process was understood to take place under the influence of flaws, constitutional in nature or deriving from adverse environmental conditions, the grip of which increased with every generation through heredity until it culminated in imbecility, senility, and sterility or the social equivalent thereof.
The example of Baudelaire is pertinent because, although relatively few critical essays were dedicated specifically to the study of this poet during the first phase of critical interest in Spain (approximately 1880-1910), his work inspired a comprehensive range of responses. Consequently, response to Baudelaire reveals, more clearly than does critical reaction to some other French and many other Spanish writers, the scope of and trends within Spanish literary criticism of the time. The fact that these are more evident in response to a non-Spanish writer whose work forms part of the international fin de siecle literary canon serves to endorse the study of national literatures within a broader context, and so contributes to redressing the aforementioned omission. The diversity of Spanish response to Baudelaire's work serves thereby to put to the test the assumption that Spain was a parochial, inward-looking backwater unreceptive to progressive literature from beyond its borders.
The Spanish case, for its part, is relevant because it brings together three competing critical discourses on Baudelaire, and indeed on other foreign writers. As such it constitutes an example of critical reaction to the poet that offers a particularly inflected instance, within a European cultural context, of the reception in one national environment of a writer deemed to be not only representative of another national culture but also of international significance. What, then, are the three trends of critical response to Baudelaire's work in late nineteenth-century Spain? (2) Firstly, there is the reaction of commentators whose position can be described as traditionalist in character. Their criticism, written for the most part from an unsympathetic conservative, Catholic standpoint that can be traced back to the anti-Romantic reaction of the mid-nineteenth century, engaged with Baudelaire's work predominantly in terms of its moral import. (3) The response of critics such as Juan Valera and Emilio Ferrari belongs to this category. Secondly, there is the criticism of the 'gente nueva', the fin de siecle avant-garde, whose aesthetic position came closest to that of Baudelaire and his literary lineage. (4) The response of this group is complex in that it is not characterized, as one might have supposed, by an unequivocally favourable predisposition to the poet, but rather by ambivalence. Within this category may be included the response of Ramon del Valle Inclan, Azorin (Jose Martinez Ruiz), and the so-called Francophile propagandists such as Enrique Gomez Carrillo and Luis Bonafoux. (5) Finally, there is the response of the group of commentators whose critical reception of Baudelaire is the subject of this enquiry, the exponents of the social Darwinism that emerged in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century and that took root in Spain towards the end of the century. These critics drew their inspiration primarily from the Theory of Degeneration, which they applied to the study of the psychology of the creative mind. The diversity of Spanish critical response to Baudelaire and to new developments in literature is alone sufficient to challenge the assumption that Spain was a peripheral cultural backwater. It also allows Spanish reaction to the response of the psychologist-critics to be considered in relation to other critical trends rather than in isolation. Comparison with other approaches is crucial, indeed indispensable, in determining the originality of the psychologists' method, and so in answering the central question posed in this enquiry.
Reflections on literature by late nineteenth-century psychologists are in their turn significant because they constitute one of the three competing critical discourses mentioned above and were driven, moreover, by recent developments in science. The latter factor gave rise to a novel approach to literature within the critical economy of the day, and, furthermore, throws light on the mission, the application, and even the popularization of science at that time. Consideration of the psychologists' work in relation to the other critical standpoints will facilitate assessment of how innovatory it was in terms of critical practice, and so help to answer the question the answer to which is the first objective of this article. Exploration of this scientific approach to literature will also help to redress the omission: the very existence of this trend bears witness to engagement with its foreign cynosures, Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau, the impact of whose work was sufficiently significant to engender indigenous exponents: Pompeyo Gener and Jose Maria Llanas Aguilaniedo. No assessment of literary criticism in fin de siecle Spain could claim to be comprehensive if it did not take into account the presence of this phenomenon of international origin. Spain's engagement with this phenomenon ran the gamut from indigenous critical cloning to cogent opposition from a variety of perspectives and so yields, moreover, ample and pertinent material from which to measure the extent of Spain's openness to and the degree of sophistication of Spanish reception of the major trends and influences in fin de siecle culture. Thus the preconception that Spain was on the cultural periphery will also be addressed.
The first comprehensive elaboration of the Theory of Degeneration was made by B. A. Morel in 1857. (6) Published two years before Darwin's The Origin of Species, this work informed the social Darwinism characteristic of the second half of the nineteenth century. Morel defined degeneration as a series of
transformations pathologiques [qui] s'etablissent soit par l'enchainement des phenomenes morbides qui se commandent et s'engendrent successivement, soit par le moyen des transmissions hereditaires que l'on peut bien aussi regarder comme formees par un enchainement de phenomenes qui s'engendrent et se commandent, d'une maniere successive, jusque dans les conditions intimes de la vie foetale. (p. vii)
Those who embraced this position believed that behaviour which fostered the development and intensification of such flaws constituted a biological crime against humanity, as Morel's work implies: 'Le traitement de l'alienation mentale ne doit plus etre regarde comme independant de tout ce qu'il est indispensable de tenter d'ameliorer l'etat intellectuel, physique et moral de l'espece humaine' (p. ix).
From the middle of the nineteenth century, the science of psychology fell increasingly under the influence of the Theory of Degeneration. One consequence of this was a renewal of interest in the concept of genius, which came to be seen by exponents of degeneration theory as a form of degeneration itself. The diversity of artistic developments in the second half of the nineteenth century, their rapid evolution, and their often controversial character turned successive generations of the literary avant-garde of this period into prime targets for psychological scrutiny. The highly communicative and influential character of literature and the receptivity of the growing community of consumers of literature caused it to be seen as a means of propagating and diffusing degenerative tendencies throughout whole communities and nations.
Speculation that there is an association between genius and insanity was not an invention of the nineteenth century. Its resurrection came in a scientifically prompted guise, initially and most markedly in the work of the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), who launched the psychopathological study of genius in 1864 with his work Genio e follia. Successive studies by Lombroso extended, amended, and refined the theory of genius as degeneration over a period of forty-five years. (7) The essence of his theory, however, remained largely unchanged: the psychology of the 'man of genius', he argued, is similar at least in certain respects to that of the criminal or the mentally defective individual.
By the time Lombroso's studies of genius became known in Spain, he had already gained a reputation as an innovative criminologist:
El prestigio cientifico y, sobre todo, la popularidad que en toda Europa (incluida Espana) alcanzo a fines del siglo el Dr. Lombroso --nombre hey solo identificable entre los iniciados en cuestiones de criminologia-- son de per si un dato elocuente de la avidez y de la polvareda polomica que suscitaban estos temas en su tiempo. Lombroso pretendio haber descubierto los caracteres fisicos del criminal nato. Esta sensacional revelacion se filtro muy pronto del libro cientifico al periodico diario. (8)
The most popular version of Lombroso's study of genius, L'uomo di genio, published in 1888, (9) never appeared in Spanish translation. Nevertheless, it became known in Spain soon after through the popular French translation of 1889 and indirectly through references in the periodical press and critical essays. (10) Whatever the scientific merits of this particular work--and these are questionable when measured by standards of scientific practice at the time as much as by those that applied subsequently--Lombroso's prestige and reputation and indeed the controversy to which some of his ideas gave rise were sufficient to guarantee that word of the study reached a wide audience. (11)
In what capacity does Baudelaire figure in L'uomo di genio? In the fourth chapter of the first part of the study, which explores similarities between genius and insanity, Baudelaire appears, alongside eminent historical and contemporary figures as diverse as Socrates, St Paul, Mohammed, St Ignatius of Loyola, Michelangelo, Flaubert, and Darwin, as an example of the 'man of genius' who exhibits symptoms of the mentally ill. Lombroso discovered in Baudelaire enough degenerative traits to compile a detailed enumeration of more than five hundred words in length, making him one of the most significant case histories in the book. (12) To list all of the symptoms here would be otiose. Let it suffice, therefore, to enumerate the principal characteristics of degeneration that Lombroso claimed to detect in Baudelaire. These are, in order of exposition, Delire des grandeurs (delusions of grandeur),which leads, through the attribution of disproportionate importance to one's own activities, to a sense of alienation; Folie de doute, a form of pessimistic apathy, manifest in the poet's hyperaesthesia, originality, and apathy; originality, which in turn causes alienation; eccentricity; and the possession of singular ability in certain fields counterbalanced by ineptitude in others. The last of these was in Lombroso's view (p. vii) a fundamental characteristic of genius and one that set the genius, a higher degenerate, apart from imbeciles.
The behaviour and disposition associated with these traits resemble closely the strain of the mal du siecle to which Baudelaire gave the name of 'spleen'. His morbid sense of alienation and anguish had been noted as characteristic of his work by other commentators. Such commentators, however, were less assiduous in their accumulation of evidence and, moreover, put together their case without recourse to the technical lexicon of a 'scientific' discipline. (13)
It is also possible to discern in the Italian's theory of genius as epilepsy a systematic account of 'Ideal', the existential exaltation or epiphany that Baudelaire referred to in Les Paradis artificiels as 'le gout de l'infini'. (14) The loss of moral sense common to epileptics and men of genius prompted Lombroso to conclude that genius was a form of epilepsy:
To those acquainted with the so-called binominal or serial law, according to which no phenomenon occurs singly--each one being, on the contrary, the expression of a series of less well-defined but analogous facts--such frequent occurrence of epilepsy among the most distinguished of distinguished men can but indicate a greater prevalence of this disease among men of genius than was previously thought possible, and suggests the hypothesis of the epileptoid nature of genius. (p. 338)
Once again critics of other affiliations had noted this tendency in Baudelaire's work, although in a rather more ad hoc fashion than Lombroso had. This is also true of Lombroso's treatment of other Baudelairian behavioural traits deemed to be symptomatic of neurosis and insanity, such as sexual deviations, alcoholism, and descent from mentally disturbed ancestors, these also being stock features of contemporary Baudelaire criticism (Lombroso, pp. 70 and 145).
The avowedly scientific character of Lombroso's discourse should not, however, be taken as a guarantee of its reliability. His readiness to rely on anecdotal evidence detracts from the credibility of his study. Factual errors in Maxime Du Camp's Souvenirs litteraires that are cited by Lombroso include the rumour that Baudelaire brought 'a negress' back with him from a voyage to the Indies (Lombroso, p. 201). (15) The remark that Baudelaire 'loved ugly and horrible women, negresses, dwarfs, giantesses' (pp. 69-70) may have been based on this source, among others, while the poem 'La Geante' (Baudelaire, 1, 22-23), for example, explains the allusion to 'giantesses'. (No source can be found in the poems, however, to explain the reference to dwarfs.) On other occasions, poems are assumed to be autobiographical. Lombroso's observation that Baudelaire 'felt the necessity of freeing himself from "an oasis of horror in a desert of ennui"' (pp. 69-70) is based on line 112 of 'Le voyage': 'Une oasis d'horreur dans un desert d'ennui' (Baudelaire, 1, 133). The impunity with which Lombroso assumed Baudelaire's poetry to constitute a reliable and accurate source of biographical information and so to constitute scientifically acceptable data or evidence--the conflation of poetic word and behavioural deed--may appear naive by today's standards but in context it demonstrates the extent to which this new 'scientific' criticism adhered to and shared with traditionalist criticism's biographical-moral perspective the fundamentally humanistic paradigm for the study of literature that was predominant until challenged by structuralism in the middle of the twentieth century.
To return to the question of the reliability of Lombroso's study, it is necessary to take into account the Italian's attitude to the phenomenon of genius. The explanation of genius advanced in the study may be deemed iconoclastic, but in what sense is this the case? Is an iconoclastic predisposition made explicit in the work or is such a position only to be inferred or recognized as one possible option in its reception? If the former, was L'uomo di genio the vehicle for a personal moral crusade against the conventional superiority attributed to genius disguised as objective scientific enquiry? Or if not, must one not countenance the possibility of the incidental iconoclasm that accompanies any purported aspiration to the relentless and unconditional pursuit of truth? Lombroso claimed that in assuming the challenge of redefining genius in the light of the scientific discoveries of the day, he was putting first the mission of science to push forward the frontiers of knowledge even if this meant struggling with a received wisdom to which even he had a residual attachment:
It is a sad mission to cut through and destroy with the scissors of analysis the delicate and iridescent veils with which our proud mediocrity clothes itself. Very terrible is the religion of truth. The physiologist is not afraid to reduce love to a play of stamens and pistils, and thought to a molecular movement. (p. 2)
He was, moreover, at pains to point out that the presence of characteristics of degeneration in men of genius did not indicate inferiority but was the result of a trade-off of gifts against shortcomings:
It has been in losing these [evolutionary] advantages that we have gained our intellectual superiority. When this is seen, the repugnance to the theory of genius as degeneration at once disappears. Just as giants pay a heavy ransom for their stature in sterility and relative muscular and mental weakness, so the giants of thought expiate their intellectual force in degeneration and psychoses. It is thus that the signs of degeneration are found more frequently in men of genius than even in the insane [...]. Recent teratologic researches [...] have shown that the phenomena of atavistic retrogression do not always indicate true degeneration, but that very often they are simply a compensation for considerable development and progress accomplished in other directions. Reptiles have more ribs than we have; quadrupeds and apes possess more muscles than we do, and an entire organ, the tail, which we lack. It has been in losing these advantages that we have gained our intellectual superiority. (pp. v-vi, x-xi)
Notwithstanding Lombroso's professed objectivity, it cannot be denied that his work could be read as an act of derogation. This is precisely the charge that Emilia Pardo Bazan, the Spanish novelist whose adherence to literary Naturalism was tempered by her devout Catholicism, laid at Lombroso's door. The psychologist's intentions, she acknowledged, may have been noble, but his work played into the hands of iconoclasts with ulterior motives by providing a formidable arsenal of discursive weaponry for those who chose to appropriate it for a partisan cause--by which she meant one that sought to undermine the traditional Catholic world-view that she held dear. Pardo Bazan was alert to this possibility:
No es funesto Lombroso porque tira de la manta; lo es porque su sistema, aunque desprovisto de fundamento, ofrece asidero comodo a la insolente demagogia, y es un arsenal donde pueden surtirse de hachas, picas y punales los jacobinos de nuevo cuno. Las teorias de Lombroso, que siempre la multitud ha de tomar per donde mas quemen, sirven para que unos cuantos pretendan allanar el mundo de la inteligencia y de la accion, convirtiendole en plantel de orondas calabazas. (16)
The conservative inspiration of Pardo Bazan's critique is unmistakable, but her concern regarding the appropriation of Lombroso's theories by radical ideologues proved to be not without foundation. Before exploring this point further, however, some concluding remarks regarding Lombroso are appropriate.
What of the image of Baudelaire presented in Lombroso's study? Lombroso, as noted above, took as a point of departure characteristics in Baudelaire that critics of different ideological persuasions and affiliations, and equally predisposed to cull evidence from poems, had, to a great extent, already identified. The novelty of Lombroso's presentation of Baudelaire resides rather in its perspective: the Italian's recourse to the discourse of scientific medicine meant that any challenge to his interpretation was obliged to engage with matters of epistemology--how well or correctly the system of knowledge to which he adhered was applied--rather than with rhetoric, which is what drove other commentators of the day. The significance of L'uomo di genio is that it served to keep Baudelaire on the critical map and in the critical eye. In the first place, the inclusion of Baudelaire in a sample of distinguished 'patients' selected from over two thousand years not only bore witness to the poet's contemporary prominence and status but also advertised it in a new guise, adding thereby another dimension to his notoriety. Secondly, Baudelaire's presence in Lombroso's study paved the way for more radical 'scientific' assessments of the poet, and for a more controversial application of psychology to literature that was not long in the offing. One characteristic of this development was the emergence of a censorious stance that amounts to the criminalization of fin de siecle literature, which tempts one to recall the origins of Lombroso's theory of genius in his background in criminology.
By 1893 a far more dramatic adaptation of Lombroso's theory of genius was to make its debut, fulfilling the prophecy that Emilia Pardo Bazan had made concerning the appropriation of the Italian's ideas. Entartung--referred to hereafter as Degeneration, the title of its English translation--was the work of Max Simon Sudfeld (1849-1923), an Austrian doctor who under the pseudonym of Max Nordau published a series of studies of contemporary culture and mores, inspired by the prevailing social Darwinism. (17) Degeneration was without doubt the best known and probably the most controversial of Nordau's works: 'Nordau's critique', observes Hans-Peter Soder, 'became de rigueur for both critics and defenders of literary modernism." (18) The response that it generated was prompted and determined less, in all probability, by a favourable reaction to the work than by Nordau's energetic exposition of its controversial thesis. In spite of Degeneration's pretence to scientific objectivity, its author's prejudices are but thinly disguised, as Soder adds:
The most important aim of his expose [...] was to cause the devaluation of their [fin de siecle writers'] work. The authority of science was to help him deflate the public esteem of the most well-known Decadents through a 'scientific' analysis of their alleged preoccupation with disease, sexual deviancy, and amorality. (p. 475)
In this respect the controversy that characterized its reception in Spain mirrored the wider critical response. Nordau's work enjoyed considerable popularity in Spain for more than a quarter of a century. Between 1887 and 1915 at least seven of his works were translated into Spanish, including Degeneration (1902), and his article 'El modernismo en Espana y America' appeared in El nuevo Mercurio in 1907. (19) It is likely that a Spanish readership first encountered Nordau's magnum opus in the guise of the French translation of 1894. (20) Jose Maria Llanas Aguilaniedo refers to this translation in Alma contemporanea and adds the following footnote: 'Fijese el lector en que cito a Max Nordau, no obstante haber pasado ya de moda el imitarle.' (21) This demonstrates that Nordau's work was well known in Spain in its French version and a subject of popular interest several years before the Spanish translation appeared.
In Degeneration detailed and extensive attention is devoted to Baudelaire, who figures prominently as a case study illustrating various symptoms of degeneration. (22) He was associated predominantly with two of the principal degenerative maladies that Nordau saw as underpinning contemporary artistic and specifically literary creation: ego mania and mysticism. (23)
Ego mania is to be understood in the context of the psychology of the time as the foremost of the symptoms of degeneration characteristic of contemporary literary sensibility (Nordau, pp. 245-58). It was attributed to arrested development of 'the conception of the "not-I"' (Nordau, p. 251), an impaired awareness of the outside world leading to a pathological degree of self-absorption. The various guises that this condition took on had, according to Nordau, spawned different literary movements: disproportionate attention to one's own activity and sentiments had given rise to the Parnassians (pp. 270-75, 273-75) and Aesthetes, the English counterparts of the French Decadents by virtue of their debt to Baudelaire (pp. 319-37); perversion or loss of the moral sense drove the aesthetics of the 'Diaboliques' and decadents (pp. 296-319); while from the ego-maniac's inability to experience satisfying or pleasurable states--a result of being alienated from and therefore out of kilter with the outside world--derived the general malaise that constituted the fin de siecle's own variant of the mal du siecle that had emerged with the sceptical vein of Romanticism (pp. 263-66).
Mysticism, for its part, was explained in terms of a breakdown in the process by which primary perceptions are translated into clearly discerned, fully developed ideas, a condition exacerbated by the degenerate's impaired will-power. Nordau took this to explain the visionary tendency associated with the Symbolists in particular.
Baudelaire first appears in Degeneration as a degenerate exhibiting the symptoms characteristic of the Parnassians and Diabolists (pp. 270-71), such as the attribution of excessive importance to their own activity, 'impassivity'--here a synonym for the attenuation of, deficiency in, or disappearance of the moral sense (pp. 273-74)--and immorality, in the form of perverse and immoral predilections (p. 275). The section culminated in a detailed enumeration of Baudelaire's degenerative symptoms (pp. 285-86, 294-96). Further reference was made to Baudelaire in the third chapter of the section on ego mania, 'Decadents and Aesthetes' (pp. 296-99, 317).
What may be concluded regarding the depiction of Baudelaire in Degeneration? One may begin to answer this question by considering the perspective and approach of Nordau in relation to that of Lombroso. In this regard, the former adheres ostensibly to the same scientific principles and theory as the latter. In actuality, however, Nordau is unequivocally hostile towards his degenerate subjects. While the Austrian may lay claim to the detachment of the scientist in his approach, his attitude remains far from dispassionate. Nordau betrays the extent to which the prevalent social Darwinism had developed its own moral position not only through his partiality but also in his concentration upon and unrelenting censure of contemporary literature, which he judges according to the social ethic spawned by the application of evolutionary thought to sociology. The following quotation offers one of many examples of this:
Only by each individual doing his duty will it be possible to dam up the invading mental malady [...]. Society must unconditionally defend itself against them [degenerates]. Whoever believes with me that society is a natural organic form of humanity, in which alone it can exist, prosper, and continue to develop itself to higher destinies; whoever looks upon civilization as a good, having value and deserving to be defended, must mercilessly crush under his thumb the anti-social vermin. (p. 557)
Secondly, Nordau's presentation of Baudelaire merits consideration in relation to that generated by other groups of critics. The prominence accorded to Baudelaire surpasses the attention devoted to him by detractors of a traditionalist affiliation. Recognition of Baudelaire's significance is not only implicit in the coverage devoted to his work but also acknowledged explicitly: 'Baudelaire is--even more than Gautier--the intellectual chief and model of the Parnassians, and his influence dominates the present generation of French poets and authors, and a portion also of English poets and authors, to an omnipotent degree' (p. 285). In this respect, Nordau acknowledged with less reticence than others the importance--albeit in a negative sense--of Baudelaire's work in relation to the development of mid- to late nineteenth-century literature. Degeneration offers for the first time, moreover, an explanation of Baudelaire's significance and influence: the poet's work had propagated a highly contagious psychological disease that subsequent writers had contracted. It is this, and not merely, as Slider suggests (p. 474), Nordau's 'novel application of science to art', which Lombroso had already launched, that constitutes Degeneration's real originality.
Acknowledgement of Baudelaire's significance was also a rhetorical linchpin in Nordau's ideological enterprise. To acknowledge Baudelaire's importance was necessary because Nordau's prosecution of the modern exponents of literary degeneration rested upon the establishment of a direct connection between the poet's actual literary prominence and his textual prominence in Degeneration, in the form of his particular representativeness in terms of degenerative psychology. For the Austrian psychologist, this connection was and, for the reason given above, needed to be perceived as causal in nature. In other words, in a purported climate of spreading degeneracy, it was precisely Baudelaire's psychopathic character that accounted for his importance and the influence exerted by his work. Having established this, Nordau was in a position to refer to the scale on which Baudelaire's example had nurtured further examples of literary degeneracy. This in turn allowed the Austrian to emphasize the continuing and increasing need for a radical form of social therapy designed to counter the spread of and eventually eradicate the contagion of literary degeneration. The final chapter, indeed, is devoted to a systematic review of 'Therapeutics' (pp. 550-60). Moreover, once a plausible parallel had been established between Baudelaire's place in contemporary literature and his unique psychological representativeness, his literary-historical situation as founding father of modern poetry provided a convenient framework within which Nordau could organize the presentation of the principal evidence for his case, this being the presence in Baudelaire and other writers of symptoms of psychological degeneration. It is by such means that Nordau, to use Rene Wellek's words, 'scores many points'. (24)
Nordau's reliance upon the identification of symptoms to demonstrate his case constitutes one of the more prominent manifestations, if not the predominant one, of Degeneration's medico-scientific character. This is most evident in the description of those who, like Baudelaire, are deemed to be particularly representative cases. Such descriptions are composed mainly of enumerative compilations of symptoms. (25)
The insistent listing of symptoms is, however, far from being rhetorically gratuitous--it is not merely a neutral stylistic marker of scientific discourse. It does fulfil such a function, of course, and indeed has to in order to establish in discursive terms the authority of science. This occurs, though, in an incidental fashion. What is more significant is the rhetorical advantage that it affords the scientist over other categories of commentator who were equally determined to disseminate their own partisan and partial interpretation of Baudelaire's work. Traditionalist commentators on Baudelaire, whether the unsympathetic majority or even the isolated voice that spoke of the poet indulgently or in his favour, had as it were accepted the terms in which Baudelaire appeared to 'define himself' in his work. (26) As a consequence, these critics could only challenge Baudelaire's 'sincerity' or claim that he was misguided. Juan Valera, for example refers to 'la farsa tenaz que el mismo [Baudelaire] se impuso para ser original' (II, 829) and 'la blague triste, la pose pesada de Baudelaire' (II, 629), as well as accusing the poet of insincerity (II, 910-11). Nordau, on the contrary, avoided this impasse by refusing to accept on its own terms the moral self that the traditionalists inferred from biographical readings of the poet's work. He interpreted Baudelaire's behaviour (also inferred from biographical readings of his work but equally from biography and anecdote) not as an embodiment of a moral standpoint to be judged from a critical but ontologically equal position, but as symptomatic of disease. In subjecting the evidence gathered by traditionalists to diagnosis in terms other than those in which it presented itself, Nordau effectively subordinated Baudelaire's 'self' to the authority of a superior objective theory of subjectivity. Baudelaire was effectively denied thereby the right of appeal and right to reply that the traditionalists had allowed to persist.
The treatment of Baudelaire in Degeneration demonstrates, therefore, how an exponent of psychological criticism with ideological ulterior motives might use the discourse of science to gain the rhetorical upper hand by demoting opponents to a position of discursive inferiority, as flawed rather than healthy or normal beings. This view is endorsed by Richard A. Cardwell, who adopts a Foucauldian perspective to argue that the discourse of medicine deployed by Lombroso, Nordau, and others is 'brought into play to stigmatize and "criminalize" and thus to marginalize the modern artist'. (27) Cardwell's invocation of Foucault--'a dominant culture maintains its status by a process of division whereby one pole of a given binary contrast is condemned to silence and marginalization' (p. 45)--is apposite, for the dominant culture in this case may be one driven more by bourgeois ideology that had appropriated science for its own ends rather than by 'objective' science itself. Rene Wellek suspects Nordau of this subterfuge: Nordau, 'a man of sturdy common sense, logic, and social morals' (p. 317), was effectively dressing up bourgeois values in the garb of science. Agostino Pirella endorses this view: 'Lombroso "sbagliava" perche esprimeva tutta l'ansia della borghesia di dominare le campagne irrequiete anche con l'arma del controllo medico e "scientifico".' (28) Soder also claims that Nordau's aim was to use science to reassure the bourgeoisie (pp. 474 and 475). Wellek points out, however, the vulnerability of the Austrian's rhetorical edifice, characterizing it as a method that 'defeats itself by its sweeping all-inclusiveness, its lack of discrimination between authors, and the humourless insistence with which even harmless techniques as Rossetti's monotonous refrains are interpreted as symptoms of feeble minded incoherence' (p. 317).
A number of Nordau's Spanish contemporaries were, however, no less aware of the game being played than Wellek was half a century later, or than Pirella and Sdder were more recently. However skilfully and dramatically wrought the Austrian's rhetorical onslaught against Baudelaire and late nineteenth-century literature may have been, it failed to beguile and seduce universally and unconditionally. While some, like Nordau's Spanish translator Nicolas Salmeron y Garcia, held him in great esteem--or appeared to do so, if we suppress any suspicion of irony in the hyperbole of his praise for the master (29)--many were scornful of Nordau's immoderate iconoclasm, seeing in it an even more lamentable sequel to Lombroso's already lamentable treatise than Emilia Pardo Bazan had predicted. (30) Clarin (Leopoldo Alas) accused Nordau of (ab)using eloquence to dress up bourgeois morality as science. Pio Baroja described him as being as insane as his own case histories. Unamuno compared him to a blind person trying to judge paintings by touch. (31) All saw Nordau and his ilk as obsessively seeking traces of degenerative insanity where it did not exist, as the following comment by Ruben Dario on Lombroso illustrates:
Recuerdo que una vez, al acabar de leer ono de los libros de Lombroso, quede con la obsesion de la idea de una locura poco menos que universal. A cada persona de mi conocimiento le aplicaba la observacion del doctor italiano, y resultabame que, unos per fas, otros per nefas, todos mis projimos eran candidates al manicomio. (32)
Many reviewers of Nordau's work saw Degeneration not as a valid application of science but as an egregious example of its misuse, leading to a partisan and misguided attitude. This view is summed up in an assessment formulated by La Espana moderna's reviews editor Fernando Araujo:
Max Nordau, que tiene bastante talento, no consigue convencernos de su imparcialidad [...]. Por mucho que alardee la independencia, nadie es menos independiente que Max Nordau: depende de sus conceptos cientificos, de sus teorias medicas, de su talento de dialectica agresiva, de su inclinacion irrestistible a la satira y a la paradoja, y hasta de las ideas y de las pasiones francesas. Su esfuerzo leal y virulento para ser libre nos hace ver mejor las ligaderas que le oprimen y de que no puede desprenderse. Max Nordau es quiza un gran espiritu muy incomplete. Tiene una memoria gigantesca de todas las ideas; sabe asimilarselas y construye con destreza hermosos sistemas que aplica erroneamente a la literatura. (33)
Analysis of Spanish response to Nordau's work invites reformulation of Seder's generalization, based on reaction to Nordau in England, France, and Germany, that there were two principal communities of reception: 'a majority of literary historians unequivocally on the side of the canonized modernists' and a 'much smaller group [...] of those scholars who have taken the impact of Entartung more seriously' (p. 479).
Max Nordau's work succeeded nevertheless in exerting sufficient influence in Spain to engender progeny--this metaphor is not facetious, given the extent to which the examples to be reviewed rendered his work precursory through reverent acknowledgement of its antecedence. To use terms that might have appealed to Nordau, however, the quality of the indigenous litter was uneven. Let us begin by examining a work that may be considered the runt: Pompeyo Gener's Literaturas malsanas, which appeared in 1894. (34)
Before embarking upon a critique of Gener's work, it should be said in mitigation that as a result of its highly derivative character and frequent invocation of Nordau's theories, Literaturas malsanas served the not insignificant purpose of bringing the existence of Degeneration to the attention of the Spanish reading public barely two years after the original work's publication and eight years before a Spanish translation of the Austrian's work was completed.
Literaturas malsanas, it has to be said, has few if any other redeeming features. Little more than a recasting of Degeneration, this work exudes a crudely formulated, second-hand Darwinism according to which contemporary writers were committing a crime against humanity in their refusal to assume the responsibility of every individual and, by extension, every society to fulfil its evolutionary potential. Gener's premiss that literature is eminently and highly communicative in nature, and so a particularly efficient means for the propagation of degeneration, is drawn from Nordau ('highly-gifted degenerates [...] frequently exercise a deep influence', p. 24), and can be seen in this quotation infused with the sweeping generalizations and hyperbole so frequent in Literaturas malsanas:
Todo hombre [...] tiene un cumulo de energias rectas y expansivas para comunicar. Si este hombre es uno de tames, las comunica solo [sic] a sus allegados. Si es un artista, las propaga a todos y les aumenta la vida. Asi, hacer una obra de arte, hacer un buen libro, es tarea superior a la de criar un hijo. (p. 382)
It is for this reason that Gener believed that 'el que produce una impresion deprimente, es un envenenador y por tanto un asesino' (p. 381).
Literaturas malsanas was divided into two parts, the second of which, 'Enfermedades exoticas', dealt with examples of degenerative literature occurring outside Spain. Baudelaire was mentioned in the chapter dealing with the diverse manifestations of Symbolism and Decadence. In what resembles a return to the traditionalist obsession with Baudelaire's 'satanism', Gener placed Baudelaire in the category of the 'blasfematorios', a somewhat derivative term, given its widespread critical use, drawn probably on this occasion from Nordau's discussion of 'diabolism' (Nordau, pp. 296-98). To this literary sect Gener attributed the characteristics of extreme nihilism and destructive rebellion. Baudelaire was presented as the most comprehensive and striking synthesis of these tendencies, and therefore occupied a prominent position in Literaturas malsanas akin to the place accorded to him in Degeneration:
Baudelaire reconcentra esta tendencia. Ni amistad ni amor. Solo [sic] un libertinaje, un sensualismo complicado y cruel, spleen, una gran aficion al artificio, horror hacia la Naturaleza productora, culto de Satan, de la Magdalena y de las mujeres condenadas, corrupcion livida que exhala un perfume de almizcle y un hedor de cementerio. He aqui la atmosfera comun a Las flores del mal y a las demas otras obras de la misma especie. (p. 255)
Literaturas malsanas claimed to offer a psychological interpretation of literature, yet because in this study dispassionate scientific enquiry is so blatantly subordinated to precedents of a moral character, the profile of Baudelaire presented resembles very closely that elaborated by those traditionalist critics who took issue with his work on moral grounds. The facets stressed in Gener's study are the same: satanism, the cult of evil, despair, and anguish. The first two of these in particular were once again accorded disproportionate emphasis. Furthermore, Gener's bombastic style exuded the same moral indignation that is to be detected in certain comments of Valera or Ferrari, for example. To this should be added Gener's somewhat suspect knowledge of French literary history, of which numerous misspellings of authors' names provide frequent evidence. Gener also failed to discuss Baudelaire and, indeed, other individual case studies with the persuasive degree of beguiling detail that Nordau had used. Even discussion of the pathology of deviant psychology was sketchy, superficial, and not integrated into discussion of the case studies in the main body of the work. Literaturas malsanas merely reiterated Nordau's thesis but in less detail. Clarin's observation (in Talinque') that the mention of Gener's name brought a sardonic smile to Max Nordau's face is a telling one. Yet in a way these qualities lend to Gener's work a less duplicitous character than Nordau's, and so make it a more honest reflection of the ideological climate of the day. The moral outrage, the 'bourgeois'--to use Clarin's designation--exasperation that in Nordau's work seeks to pass itself off as the earnest but reasoned passion of the scientist, is more patent, more explicit in Gener's indignant outpourings.
Spain's flirtation with the application of degeneration theory to contemporary literature acquired a less stridently condemnatory tone, a more measured and consequently more credible guise with the publication in 1899 of Jose Maria Llanas Aguilaniedo's Alma contemporanea. Although indebted to Nordau's work and still under the sign, albeit on the cusp, of Lombrosian positivism, Alma contemporanea embodies a less dogmatic application of science to literature. This may be explained by the exposure of its author to recent Spanish reformulations, notably by the criminologist and anthropologist Rafael Salillas, of evolutionary thinking prompted by a shift of emphasis in fin de siecle Spain from a preoccupation with decadence and decline to a striving for regeneration. (35) Its author worked from the premiss that the rules that govern the functioning of the individual can be applied to society as a whole, whence the idea of a 'contemporary soul'. Literature, according to Llanas Aguilaniedo, was constantly evolving. Having passed through a series of stages parallel to those of the life of a human being, it had now reached a stage at which 'las manifestaciones de virilidad y de equilibrio' and 'sintomas inequivocas de vejez y decadencia' appeared simultaneously (p. 35). The presence in literature of the symptoms of decline and senility, he went on, had been brought about by the extraordinarily rapid development that society had experienced in recent times. The frenetic pace of social evolution had led to the loss of a universal unifying faith or system of values, and this was reflected in contemporary literature. The first symptom was the emergence of a series of necessarily ephemeral subcults, engendered in an attempt to replace lost guiding principles. The second was the emergence of a cult of amorality or immorality, as writers inferred from the loss of values that no absolute values existed. The third was a hatred of the bourgeoisie. Society, explained Llanas Aguilaniedo, was composed of three psychological types: workers, the bourgeoisie, and 'espiritus equilibrados [...] los hombres del analisis y de la sintesis, criticos mejor que creadores' (p. 21). Most of the workers, whether manual or intellectual, had, under the pressures of modern urban existence, become '[e]l tipo especial de hombre moderno de ideales, producto del exagerado intelectualismo, del abuso de narcoticos, excitantes y estupefacientes, de la influencia caracteristica de la vida en poblaciones grandes' (p. 11). 'Organismos estigmatizados por fatiga, vicios o malas condiciones de vida de los ascendientes [...] dificilmente adaptables' (p. 12) they might be, but idealists they remained, united in their pursuit of ideals, justice, and perfection. Llanas Aguilaniedo referred to these as the 'exaltados' (p. 12). The bourgeois, on the contrary, lacked an ideal, and so provoked exasperation and inspired profound antipathy in workers of both kinds:
Los obreros de ambas especies conocen el ideal y le aman. El burgues eye hablar de ello y quiere tambien llegar a su conocimiento; su alma, no educada para eso, se esfuerza sin embargo en vano y toda su buena voluntad y sus deseos de adaptacion, no sirven mas que para convertirle en snob vulgar, que jamas comprendera lo que solamente la comida y los demas excitantes y narcbticos le hacen entrever [...]. Sin dificultad se comprende que una tal figura concite contra si las impaciencias, la irritabilidad de las dos falanges de exaltados. (pp. 18-19)
In Alma contemporanea Baudelaire features yet again as the supreme exemplar of contemporary malaise. In this respect he occupies a position similar to that accorded to him in Degeneration and Literaturas malsanas. The poet is mentioned on three occasions. The first refers to 'las escuelas y subescuelas de arte que a partir de Baudelaire han venido sucediendose', united in 'el odio al philistine borne' (p. 19). The second refers to 'esta incertidumbre, a esta indecision de la inteligencia en el reconocimiento del mas elevado de sus ideales' leading to 'una verdadera confusion de escuelas y agrupaciones [...] a partir del movimiento iniciado por Baudelaire' (pp. 46-47). On the third occasion, Llanas Aguilaniedo notes that 'desde Baudelaire hasta nosotros, nadie se ha cuidado, no ya de moralizar, sino de tener para algo en cuenta a la moral en sus libros; antes al contrario, todos parecen haber tenido decidido empeno en infringer el precepto etico' (pp. 112-13). Baudelaire's name is thereby linked to each of the three principal manifestations of the literary 'alma contemporanea' identified above. Yet while Gener and more particularly Nordau had stressed the example of degenerative tendencies that Baudelaire provided, in Alma contemporanea the poet was cast in the guise of originator of these trends, leaving his representative quality to be inferred by the reader. With Baudelaire, suggested Llanas Aguilaniedo, literature began to reflect awareness of the collapse of a universal, cohesive system of values, and so split into a proliferation
of aesthetic subcults each striving to establish some form of absolute principle.
The attribution to Baudelaire's work of an immoral or amoral character was by no means new, but this trait acquired a novel slant in Llanas Aguilaniedo's study. A motive for explicit censure in other contexts, amorality and immorality are here viewed from a less tendentiously critical perspective, as evidence--the term symptom is possibly too loaded here, in spite of Llanas Aguilaniedo's debt to Nordau--of the disappearance of an overarching framework of values.
Finally, Baudelaire was seen as the first to give vent to the contemporary artists' hatred of the bourgeoisie. Antipathy towards bourgeois 'normality', which in other contexts was accounted for in terms of resentful or confrontational alienation, is considered by Llanas Aguilaniedo to be the logical response to ideological and intellectual mediocrity and the indifference of a tortured mind grappling with the aforementioned loss of values. Llanas Aguilaniedo in a sense exonerates Baudelaire of the crimes of which he stands accused by Nordau and Gener. In Alma contemporanea he is portrayed less as a force for corruption than as a product--or victim?--of the evolution of nineteenth-century society. This introduces a note of ambivalence in Llanas Aguilaniedo's position, absent in Nordau's and Gener's stances, that comes from the author of Alma contemporanea having a foot in two camps: the psychologist critics' and that of the writers they studied: 'Llanas ha entrado en un dilema: por una parte esta la necesidad de una literatura intelectual, y por otra la complicidad estetica con el mundo de las almas crepusculares' (Ayala Martinez, p. 512). The duty to address the situation with a view to cure or improvement none the less remains.
Alma contemporanea, then, contributed to maintaining the dynamism of the image of Baudelaire presented in psychological studies of genius. Nordau and Gener had departed from Lombroso's model by viewing the deviant psychology that they diagnosed in the poet as a peculiarly contemporary phenomenon and by adopting an unmistakably hostile attitude towards him as a singular representative of the degenerate soul of his literary generation. Llanas Aguilaniedo shared with these two precursors the former tendency but adopted a perspective in which, as the subtitle 'estudio de estetica' suggests, sociology, cultural history, and aesthetics played as important a part as psychology and physiology. Furthermore, while Llanas Aguilaniedo shared his predecessors' conviction that contemporary writers were in the grip of a degenerative psychosis, he appeared more disposed to acknowledge and describe this state of affairs than to lament or decry it. Consequently his attitude towards its victims is more indulgent, almost one of solidarity: Llanas Aguilaniedo's 'exaltados' are in essence those workers ,a cuyos esfuerzos [la sociedad] debe todo su progreso y adelantamiento' (p. 12). The bourgeois, by contrast, is inert, 'perfectamente neutralizado' (p. 20). Even the healthy, balanced spirits are seen as fundamentally passive, 'criticos mejor que creadores' (p. 21). This is not to say that the Spaniard did not admit debts to cynosures less equably disposed to Baudelaire. The frequent occasions on which Nordau's antecedence was acknowledged show that Llanas Aguilaniedo drew at least in general terms on the Austrian's diagnosis of contemporary literary psychology. Yet the degree to which Alma contemporanea diverged from previous psychological studies of literature was sufficient to modify the view of Baudelaire's significance depicted therein. Indeed, the nature of this divergence makes it possible to discern affinities with another manifestation of the psychological study of literature: Paul Bourget's Essais de psychologie contemporaine. (36) In both studies, the French poet occupies a similar position, being identified as the first to express the neurosis and alienation engendered by unprecedented rapid material progress. Alma contemporanea therefore heralds the increased sense of identification with Baudelaire, born of readings that had escaped the constraints of late nineteenth-century ideological paradigms, that was to characterize the subsequent phase of critical reception in Spain. An example of this is to be found in Juan Ramon Jimenez's 'patriotic' redemption of Baudelaire by means of an original rereading of the latter's poetry that aspired not only to reinforce the canonical status of the poet's work but also to place the Spanish poet himself and, moreover, Spanish literature, in the same canonical tradition. (37) Alma contemporanea heralds this strategy of recuperation and in this sense prepares the ground for the more favourable reception of Baudelaire's work in Spain from the second decade of the twentieth century. It also prefigures the process identified by Cardwell, whereby 'the study of the medical sciences and psychopathology, far from barring the way for aesthetic excess, actually provided a rich source of its continuation'. (38) Llanas Aguilaniedo may share with Nordau and Gener the view that contemporary literature shows traces of degeneration, but he parts company with them in his belief that literature shows awareness of its state and is aspiring to cure itself: 'El Modernismo es, ante todo, un estado de sensibilidad evolucionada y un proposito regenerador de la realidad mediante la ciencia' (Ayala Martinez, p. 510). The view that Llanas Aguilaniedo was of a more enlightened variety of theorist than his predecessors was endorsed by Ruben Dario, whose scepticism towards Lombroso's and Nordau's application of degeneration theory has been illustrated above, in an article published in La revista contemporanea in 1901: 'El senor Llanas Aguilaniedo [es] uno de los escasos espiritus que en la nueva generacion espanola toma el estudio y la meditacion con la seriedad debida'. (39) In this sense, it might be concluded that without becoming the 'lecteur paisible et bucolique' of Baudelaire's 'Epigraphe pour un livre condamne' Llanas Aguilaniedo had, at a time when the Frenchman's work was still commonly the object of censure, at least heeded the challenging plea 'Plains-moi! ... sinon je to maudis.' (40) Llanas Aguilaniedo's gesture in the direction of a reconciliation of fin de siecle literature and science points towards the interpenetration of medical and aesthetic discourses, in which the censorial thrust of the former is subverted and recast to serve the ends of the new aesthetic, that has been identified in recent research by Cardwell ("Poetry, Psychology, and Madness', p. 125).
To be able to discuss without contrivance critical reaction to a French poet by an Italian and an Austrian and their Spanish disciples, and to draw from this discussion conclusions that are neither forced nor inconsequential, demonstrates the merits, if not the necessity, of considering the fin de siecle from a perspective that transcends the purely national frame. Such is the position and so transnational is the resonance of Baudelaire, Lombroso, and Nordau within the period of cultural and intellectual history explored here that a national perspective, and even the singularities of a perspective such as the Spanish case, can barely have relevance or significance without reference to a wider world.
By the same token the national literatures themselves lack definition if they are not considered in relation to a broader context. Spanish reception of the work of Lombroso and Nordau contradicts the opinion that fin de siecle Spain was isolated from debates and developments of the day. Spain, in fact, was an active and discriminating participant in these debates: witness not only the influence of Nordau's work but also perceptive evaluations of its shortcomings and, as in the case of Llanas Aguilaniedo, the ability to transcend imitation of models. This reinforces from a new perspective the systematic challenge to Spain's peripheral status that has emerged since the late 1990s. A work that deserves to be considered as seminal in this respect is Dolores Romero Lopez's Una relectura del 'Fin de siglo' en el marco de la literature comparada: teoria y praxis. (41) More recently, one might cite the thorough and systematic study of Luis T. Gonzalez del Valle, La canonizacion del diablo: Baudelaire y la estetica moderna en Espana. (42) Particular mention should also be made of Richard A. Cardwell's investigation, elaborated in a series of publications from the mid-1990s of which those cited in this article are representative, of the relationship between literature and science and the evolution of literary and critical discourse in fin de siecle Spain. This significant contribution to the reappraisal of this period of Spain's literary history adds the weight of transdisciplinary analysis of discourse to the literary-historical argument that by the late nineteenth century Spanish writers and critics had engaged with modernity, and that acknowledgement of this should inform the study of Spain's fin de siecle.
As for the evolution of literary criticism, the work of Lombroso, Nordau, Gener, and Llanas Aguilaniedo constitutes an innovation in late nineteenth-century critical practice in its deployment of a new tactic--the application of science and the discursive authority achieved thereby--in the struggle to win the ideological debate in which literary criticism had become embroiled. Its adherence, however, to author-centred biographical criticism and normative approach places it within a critical paradigm that differs little if at all from that of other contemporary approaches to literature. This ambivalence is not untypical of the fin de siecle, a period in which endings and beginnings are inextricably enmeshed.
UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON
(1) The Fin de Siecle: A Reader in Cultural History, c. 1880-1900, ed. by Sally Ledger and Roger Luckhurst (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
(2) For a more detailed discussion of these trends in Spanish critical response, see Glyn Hambrook, 'Baudelaire and Spain', French Studies Bulletin, 26 (Spring 1988), 8-10; 'Baudelaire y Espana', Estudios de investigacion franco-espanola (Cordoba), 7 (1992), 71-75; and 'Revered and eviled: The Critical Reception of Charles Baudelaire in fin de siglo Spain', New Comparison, 15 (Spring 1993) 45-61.
(3) For an analysis of the hostile reaction to Romanticism in Spain see Donald L. Shaw, 'Towards the Understanding of Spanish Romanticism', MLR, 58 (1963), 190-95
(4) For the greater part of the twentieth century, Spanish literary historians, and others following suit, assigned these writers to one of two distinct, even opposing, camps: modernistas and the Generation of 1898. Challenges to this paradigm became current by the last decade of the twentieth century, paving the way for a radical reappraisal of Spain's fin de siecle. Richard A. Cardwell provides one of the more cogent deconstructions of the modernista--'98 divide in his article 'Modernismo frente a noventayocho: relectura de una historic literaria', Cuadernos interdisciplinarios de estudios literario (Amsterdam), 6 (1995), 11-24.
(5) The term 'Francophile propagandists' derives from John W. Kronik's article 'Enrique Gomez Carrillo, Francophile Propagandist', Symposium, 21 (1967), 50-60. For a study of Gomez Carrillo's critical response to Baudelaire see Glyn Hambrook, 'Del poeta a la poesia: la imagen de Charles Baudelairey de su obra en las cronicas literarias de Enrique Gomez Carrillo', Estudios de investigacion franco-espanola (Cordoba), 5 (1991), 97-111.
(6) Traite des degenerescences physiques, intellectuelles et morales de l'espece humaine, et des causes qui produisent ces varietes maladives (Paris: Bailliere, 1857).
(7) Genio e follia, published in Milan in 1864, went through four editions before its title changed to L uomo di genio. The sixth edition (Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1894) was a completely revised version enhanced by the incorporation of new material. This was reflected in subsequent editions (1897, 1902, 1907, 1908) by another change of title: Genio e degenerazione: nuovi studi e nuove battaglie.
(8) Luis Maristany, El gabinete del doctor Lombroso: delincuencia y fin de siglo en Espana (Barcelona: Anagrama, 1973), p. 6.
(9) (Turin: Fratelli Bocca).
(10) L'Homme de genie, trans. by Fr. Colonna d'Istria (Paris: Germer Bailliere, 1889).
(11) 'El hombre de genio', writes Luis Maristany, 'es tal vez la obra mas deleznable de Lombroso, la que mas le desacredito' (p. 51).
(12) The Man of Genius, trans. by Havelock Ellis (London: Walter Scott, 1891), pp. 69-72. All quotations and terminology used here are taken from this translation.
(13) See e.g. Fernando Santander y Gomez, Historia del progreso cientifico, artistico y literario en el siglo XIX, 2 vols (Barcelona: Ramon Molinas, 1905), 11, 320; Emilia Pardo Bazan, 'La literatura moderna en Francia', La Espana moderna, 135 (March 1900), 67-68, an article in which Baudelaire's excessive pessimism is attributed to 'la falsa interpretacion del concepto de libertad', p. 68); notably Juan Valera, Obras completas, 2 vols (Madrid: Aguilar, 1942), 11, 831-32, 995, 1068. In these instances, the 'conservative' ideological position of the commentators is patent in the great emphasis that they place on the 'immoral' or 'satanic' guise in which Baudelaire's pessimism finds expression, as well as in their eagerness to dismiss this tendency as without foundation by ascribing it to ignorance, insincerity, or affectation. This is true even of the critical response of Ruben Dario. See Glyn Hambrook, 'Response to the Work of Charles Baudelaire in the Literary Criticism and Chronicles of Ruben Dario: A Spanish Perspective', Tropelias (Zaragoza), 5-6 (1994-95), 149-60.
(14) See Baudelaire, (Euvres completes, ed. by Claude Pichois, 2 vols (Paris: Gallimard, 1975), I, 401-04.
(15) This anecdote is recounted by Maxime Du Camp in Souvenirs litteraires (1822-1854) (Paris: Hachette, 1962), p. 201. The Souvenirs were originally published in two volumes (Paris: Hachette, 1882-83).
(16) Emilia Pardo Bazan, Obras completas, 4 vols (Madrid: Aguilar, 1973), III, 1172.
(17) Entartung (Berlin: Duncker, 1893). References to Nordau's work are from the anonymous translation Degeneration (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1993 orig. publ. New York: D. Appleton, 1895).
(18) 'Disease and Health as Contexts of Modernity: Max Nordau as a Critic of Fin de Siecle Modernism', German Studies Review, 14 (1991), 473-84 (p. 474)
(19) Degeneracion, trans. by Nicolas Salmeron y Garcia, 2 vols (Madrid: Fernando Fe, 1902); El nuevo Mercurio, March 1907, pp. 243-44
(20) Degenerescence, trans. by Auguste Dietrich, 2 vols (Paris: Alcan, 1894).
(21) Alma contemporanea: estudio de estetica (Huesca: Leandro Perez, 1899). Page references given here are from Justo Broto Salanova's recent re-edition of the work (Huesca: Instituto de Estudios Altoaragoneses, 1991). The quotation is from a footnote on p. 45.
(22) The major sections of Degeneration devoted to Baudelaire are found on pp. 285-86, 294-96, 296-99, and 317.
(23) For descriptions of these conditions and their symptoms, see Degeneration, pp. 249-65 and 45-46 respectively.
(24) A History of Modern Criticism 1750-1950, 5 vols (London: Cape, 1966), IV: The Later Nineteenth Century, 317.
(25) Degeneration, pp. 285-86 and 294-96, are characteristic of this tendency.
(26) Leopoldo Alas's response to Juan Valera's and Fernand Brunetiere's condemnatory response to Baudelaire ('Baudelaire', La ilustracion iberica, 23 June 1887, pp. 471-74; 13 August 1887, PP 518-19; 17 September 1887, p. 602; 24 September 1887, p. 622; 22 October 1887, pp. 682-83; 5 November 1887, p. 711; 26 November 1887, pp. 762-63) is the most substantial example of an appeal for a more indulgent reading of Baudelaire's work.
(27) 'Oscar Wilde and Spain: Medicine, Morals, Religion and Aesthetics in the Fin de Siglo', in Crossing Fields in Modern Spanish Culture, ed. by Federico Bonaddio and Xon de Ros (Oxford: European Humanities Research Centre, 2003), pp. 35-53 (p. 44)
(28) Cesare Lombroso, L'uomo di genio: in rapporto alla psichiatria, alla storia ed all'estetica, ed. by Agostino Pirella, 2 vols (Rome: Napoleone, 1971), 1, p. xiv. This re-edition has not been used here as a source for the presentation of Lombroso's work as it is based on the 1908 edition, which incorporates amendments and additions that render it significantly different from the versions consulted by commentators during the period with which this article is concerned.
(29) 'Es Nordau un profundo pensador, un hombre de ciencia y de estudio, gran conocedor de la vida y de los hombres, de una cultura inmensa, que habla y escribe con tal elevacion de ideas, con acento tan convencido y tan sincero, con sentido tan profundo de las cosas, que seduce y encanta aun antes de convencer' (Degeneracion, I, pp. v-vi).
(30) Nordau's book gave Pardo Bazan the opportunity to flaunt the accuracy of the prophesy that she made regarding the effect of Lombroso's thesis: 'Nordau es la secuela fatal y natural de Lombroso. A la concepcion del genio como enfermedad tenia que seguir el menosprecio y la condenacion de la obra genial, conceptuada malsano residuo de un organismo enfermo tambibn, y despubs de haber arrojado sobre las espaldas del genio el andrajo de porpura, y cenido a so cabeza la corona de espinas y puesto en sus menos el cetro de cana [...] tenia que venir la bofetada, el escupir a la cara y el escarnecer. La critica de Nordau es una continuada detraccion, y prueba to que tuve ocasion de afirmar en el curso de estas paginas, a saber: que las hipotesis de Lombroso matan el sentimiento de la veneracion e impulsan a gozarse en el sacrilegio' (Obras completas, in, 1174-75)
(31) 'Max Nordau es un literato falso que tiene so sistema Kneipp, que ve decadentismo por todos partes, y que desahucia a todos los que no se someten a sus curas. [...] Max Nordau quiere que el artista sea como el, un burgues de to mas chabacano' (Leopoldo Alas, 'Palique', Madrid comico, September 1897, p. 354); 'Nordau en so obra Degeneracion, nos lo dio a conocer a la mayoria. iQue libro mas extrano el de Max Nordau! Yo le calificaria entre los mas insanos, entre los mas perturbadores que se ban escrito' (Pio Baroja, Obras completas, 8 vols (Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 1946-51), VIII (1951), 854); 'Hay criticos verdaderamente horrendos, y el prototipo de ellos es acaso Max Nordau, el cual me hace el efecto de un ciego de nacimiento juzgando por el tacto hace critica de pintura. Cuando un cuadro le presenta una superficie lisa y fina, lo declara sano razonable y bello, y cuando se le presenta rugoso y aspero a los dedos lo reputa una extravagancia. Y si oye que este cuadro es alabado, declara loco de atar al que to pinto, y no menos locos a los que to alaban' (Miguel de Unamuno, 'Sobre la erudicion y la critica', La Espana moderna, December 1905, p. 22).
(32) Los raros (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1994), P. 240. For a fuller analysis of Dario's riposte to Nordau's work see Cardwell, 'Oscar Wilde', pp. 45-48.
(33) 'Los criticos franceses', La Espana moderna, January 1903, pp. 194-207 (pp. 194-95)
(34) Literaturas malsanas: estudios de patologia contemporanea (Madrid: Fernando Fe, 1894).
(35) See Jorge Manuel Ayala Martinez, Pensadores aragoneses: historia de la ideas filosoficas en Aragon (Zaragoza, Huesca, and Teruel: Institucion 'Fernando el Catolico', Instituto de Estudios Aragoneses, and Instituto de Estudios Turolenses, 2001), pp. 510-13.
(36) (Paris: Lemerre, 1883).
(37) See Glyn Hambrook, 'Juan Ramon Jimenez's French Sources', New Comparison, 26 (Autumn 1998) 73-86.
(38) 'Poetry, Psychology, and Madness in Fin de Siglo Spain: The Early Work of Juan Ramon Jimenez', Romance Studies, 17 (December 1999), 115-30 (P 127). See also Cardwell, 'Oscar Wilde', p. 44, and 'The Mad Doctors: Medicine and Literature in Finisecular Spain', Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies, 4 (1996), 167-86, in which detailed discussion can be found of 'the colonization by the discourse of medicine of the literary and literary critical domain' (p. 3).
(39) 'El modernismo', in Obras completas, 5 vols (Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado, 1950), III, 300-07 (p. 301).
(40) This is the last line of 'Epigraphe pour un livre condamne' (Baudelaire, 1, 137).
(41) (Bern: Lang, 1998).
(42) (Madrid: Verburn, 2002).
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|Title Annotation:||Charles Baudelaire|
|Publication:||The Modern Language Review|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2006|
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