logo Scopus logo Web Of Science logo ERIH PLUS logo Visegrad Fund logo CEJSH The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: http://www.ceeol.com
The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

1-4/2007

XLIV
Issued: 18th December 2007
Quarterly
Founded: 1964
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: Czech, English

The Controversy over Dilettantism and Its Reflection in Czech Decadent Literature

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/74/the-controversy-over-dilettantism-and-its-reflection-in-czech-decadent-literature

 

The article concentrates on a key concept of the Fin de Siecle in Europe – namely, “dilettantism” and its connection with Czech Decadent literature. Dilettantism, as explained by Paul Bourget in his essay on Ernest Renan (1883), is characterized by the individual’s refusal to forego any possible experience by adhering to a setmode of (intellectual) life. The “dilettante critic” originates in the idea of the “critic as artist” as developed by Oscar Wilde, who in turn is indebted to Pater’s conception of the “aesthetic critic.” In dilettantism there are many pitfalls: the dilettante may be the perfect embodiment of the “Decadent” type with his Willenskrankheit, hypertrophied (self-)analysis, over-refinement, hyper-aestheticism, eclecticism, and sterility. Arnošt Procházka (1869–1925), for instance, applies the term “dilettante” to Andrea Sperelli (the hero of Dilettantism), modelled on Huysmans’s Des Esseintes. The controversies over Dilettantism appear here as an expression of an exclusive concern with “life,” a concept that a cornerstone of philosophical debate of the period.