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 – Free Ebook

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. Herzl obviously took center stage, making the first speech at the Congress; Nordau followed him with an assessment of the Jewish condition in Europe. He soon moved to Paris as a correspondent for Die Neue Freie Presse and it was in Paris that he spent most of his life.

Every man is born with certain rights; the Jews are human beings, consequently the Jews are born to own the rights of man. Nordau was central to the Zionist Congresses which played such a vital part in shaping what Zionism would become. Lombroso claimed that the modern criminal was the savage throwback of “degeneration”.

As the twentieth century progressed, Nordau seemed increasingly irrelevant as a cultural critic. 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. In order to support this assertion, he began assembling a large collection of “psychiatric art.

Degeneeation is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. Nordau’s conversion to Zionism is in many ways typical of the rise of Zionism amongst Western European Jewry.

Even within the Zionist movement, other strains of thought were growing in popularity—influenced by Nietzsche, Socialism nordua other ideas. Nordau also onrdau society of becoming more and more inclined to imitate what they see in art, which he sees in the fashionable society of Paris and London. May Learn how and when to remove this template message.


It was based on the concept of degeneration which had gain currency from the mids. This article needs additional citations for verification. The book deals with numerous case studies of various artists, writers and thinkers, among them Oscar WildeHenrik IbsenRichard Nkrdau and Friedrich Nietzsche to name but a few but its basic premise remains that society and human beings themselves are degenerating, and this degeneration is both reflected in and influenced by art.

Freud remarked rather drily in his work Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality that “It may well be asked degenfration an attribution of ‘degeneracy’ is of any value or adds anything to our knowledge”. This was the country often seen as the model of the modern enlightened age, that had given the Europe the Great Revolution and consequently the Jewish Emancipation.

Degeneration by Max Simon Nordau

It was Nordau, convinced that Zionism had to at least appear democratic, despite the impossibility of representing all Jewish groups, who persuaded Herzl of the need for an assembly. This rejection of the accepted idea of Emancipation was not based entirely on the Dreyfus Affair. This trial went beyond a miscarriage of justice and in Herzl’s dsgeneration “contained the wish of the overwhelming majority in France, to damn a Jew, and in this one Jew, all Jews. The social theory developed consequently from Charles Darwin ‘s Theory of Jordau.

Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences.

He sees in the fashionable society of Paris bordau London that “[e]very single figure strives visibly by some singularity in outline, set, cut or colour, to startle attention violently, and imperiously to detain it. 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 deggeneration.

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”.


Although Nordau’s work certainly reflects a reactionary strain of European ddgeneration, he also condemns the rising Anti-Semitism of the late nineteenth century as a product of degeneration. Evolution meant that mankind’s development was no longer fixed and dgeneration, but could change and 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.

Although not his most popular or successful work while he was alive, the book most often remembered and cited today is Degeneration. This page was last edited on 8 Septemberat Although Nordau’s work certainly nordak a reactionary strain of European thought, he also condemns the rising anti-Semitism of the late 19th century as a product of degeneration.

Each one wishes to create a defeneration nervous excitement, no matter whether agreeably or disagreeably. At the time of his writing, Europe was undergoing unprecedented technological progress and social upheaval. He fought against the tradition of seeing the Jews as merchants or business people, arguing that most modern financial innovations such as insurance had been invented by gentiles.

Nordau’s conversion to Zionism was eventually triggered by the Dreyfus Affair. This article possibly contains original research.

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. He sees this as first being recognised, though not originating, in France, describing this phenomenon as “a contempt for the traditional views of custom and morality”.

The idea of degeneration had significant influence on science, art and politics from the s to the s. However the very fact that such sentiment had manifested itself in France was particularly significant.