This collection of fifteen essays looks at the theme of decadence and its recurring manifestations in European literature and literary criticism from medieval times to the present day. Various definitions of the term are explored, including the notion of decadence as physical decay. ... Some of the essays draw parallels between modernist and postmodernist notions of decadence. Similarities are detected between fin de siecle decadence at the end of the nineteenth century (which reaches its apotheosis in the character of Eugene Wrayburn in Our Mutual Friend) and depictions of decadence in our own age as we enter the new millennium.