The Project Gutenberg EBook of Degeneration, by Max Nordau This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the. Reprint of Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. “‘Degeneration’ is one of the most important. Nordau’s major work Entartung (Degeneration), is a moralistic attack on so-called degenerate art, as well as a polemic.

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Degeneration by Max Simon Nordau

Nordau was an example of a fully assimilated and acculturated European Jew. Theodore Herzl had favored the idea of a Jewish newspaper and an elitist “Society of Jews” to spread the ideas of Zionism.

Nordau’s conversion to Zionism was eventually triggered by the Dreyfus Affair. Degeneration Entartung, is a book by Max Nordau in which he attacks what he believed to be degenerate art and comments on the effects of a range of social phenomena of the period, such as rapid urbanization and its perceived effects on the human body.

Nordau’s views were in many ways more like those of an 18th-century thinker, a belief in ReasonProgress and more traditional, classical rules governing art and literature. This appearance of democracy certainly helped counter accusations that the “Zionists represented no one but themselves.

Not until Sigmund Freud dfgeneration the ushering in of a new age of psychoanalysiswas this idea seriously contested. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: This was based on pre- Darwinian ideas of evolution, especially those of Jean-Baptiste Lamarckwho argued that acquired characteristics like drug abuse and sexual perversions, could be inherited.

Evolution meant that mankind’s development was no longer fixed and certain, but could change degeneraton evolve or degenerate into an unknown future, possibly a bleak future that clashes with the analogy between evolution and civilization as a progressive positive direction. This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat The rapid industrialization and accompanying urbanization was breaking down many of the traditional structures of society. Nordau saw in Jewish Emancipation the result of “a regular equation: During the time of Nordau’s writing, physical, physiognomicor mechanical factors were still being regarded as causative in mental aberrations and malfunctions.


Genetic predispositions have been observed for alcoholism and criminality. He sees it as a sort of decadence, a world-weariness, and the norda rejection of the moral boundaries governing the world. Inhis remains were moved to Tel Aviv. Nordau did not coin the expression or the idea of Entartungwhich had been steadily growing in use in German speaking countries during the 19th century.

Art, music, literature, sports and leisure Writers and poets Biography Credited. This trial went beyond a miscarriage of justice and in Herzl’s words “contained the wish of the overwhelming majority in France, to damn a Jew, and in this one Jew, all Jews.

Every man is born with certain rights; the Jews are human beings, consequently the Jews are born to own the rights of man.

Degeneration : Max Nordau : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

In this fashion a whole biological explanation for social problems was developed. He uses examples from French periodicals and books in French to show how it has affected all elements of society. By the early 20th century, the idea that society was degenerating and that this degeneration was influenced by art led to somewhat hysterical backlashes, as evidenced by the conviction of Austrian artist Egon Schiele for “distributing pornography to minors”.

This rejection of the accepted idea of Emancipation was not degeneratioj entirely on the Dreyfus Affair. Freud remarked rather drily in his work Three Essays on the Degeneratoon of Sexuality that “It may well be asked whether an attribution of ‘degeneracy’ is of any value or adds anything to our knowledge”.

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Herzl obviously took center stage, making the first speech at the Congress; Nordau followed him with an assessment of the Jewish condition in Europe. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

French rationalism of the eighteenth century, based on pure logic, demanded that all men be treated equally. By the early twentieth century, the idea that society was degenerating, and that this degeneration was influenced by art, led to somewhat hysterical backlashes, as evidenced by the conviction of Austrian artist Egon Schiele for “distributing pornography to minors.

Nordau’s legacy is somewhat difficult to assess.

He worked as a journalist degemeration small newspapers in Budapest, before heading to Berlin inand changing his name. Herzl’s views were formed during his time in France where he recognised the universality of anti-Semitism; the Dreyfus Affair cemented his belief in the failure of assimilation. The irrationalism and amorality of philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and the flagrant anti-Semitism of Richard Wagner were seen as proof to Nordau that society was in danger of returning to an era before the Enlightenment.

Europe was then undergoing unprecedented technological progress and social upheaval. The idea of degeneration had significant influence on science, art and politics from the s to the s.

Degeneratipn a social critic, he wrote a number of controversial books, including The Conventional Lies of Our CivilisationDegenerationand Paradoxes The rapid industrialisation and the accompanying urbanisation were breaking down many of the traditional structures of society. History portal Culture portal Philosophy portal Politics portal.

They also used the concept in art, banning “degenerate” entartete art and music: