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Products for grant HB-50536-15

New Orleans, Literature, and the Transatlantic World
Robert Azzarello, Southern University at New Orleans

Grant details:

Three Hundred Years of Decadence: New Orleans Literature and the Transatlantic World (Book)
Title: Three Hundred Years of Decadence: New Orleans Literature and the Transatlantic World
Author: Robert Azzarello
Abstract: New Orleans’s reputation as a decadent city stems in part from its environmental precariousness, its Francophilia, its Afro-Caribbean connections, its Catholicism, and its litany of alleged “vices,” encompassing prostitution, miscegenation, homosexuality, and any number of the seven deadly sins. An evocative work of cultural criticism, Robert Azzarello’s Three Hundred Years of Decadence argues that decadence can convey a more nuanced meaning than simple decay or decline conceived in physical, social, or moral terms. Instead, within New Orleans literature, decadence possesses a complex, even paradoxical relationship with concepts like beauty and health, progress, and technological advance. Azzarello presents the concept of decadence, along with its perception and the uneasy social relations that result, as a suggestive avenue for decoding the long, shifting story of New Orleans and its position in the transatlantic world. By analyzing literary works that span from the late seventeenth century to contemporary speculations about the city’s future, Azzarello uncovers how decadence often names a transfiguration of values, in which ideas about supposed good and bad cannot maintain their stability and end up morphing into one another. Drawing on a deep and understudied archive of New Orleans literature, Azzarello considers texts from multiple genres (fiction, poetry, drama, song, and travel writing), including many written in languages other than English. With its careful analysis and focused scope, Three Hundred Years of Decadence uncovers the immense significance―historically, politically, and aesthetically―that literary imaginings of a decadent New Orleans hold for understanding the city’s position as a multicultural, transatlantic contact zone.
Year: 2019
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0807170458
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes