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Word Count: 4,167
It appears as if the whole of civilised humanity were converted to the aesthetics of the dusk of nations Max Nordau 1895 How far and in what ways is Civilisation under threat in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness 1902 and Robert Louis Stevensons The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1886 Civilisation degrades the many to exalt the few - Amos Bronson Alcott 1 Fin-de-siecle claims that jingoism and aestheticism were upwellings of a single underlying decadence - Stephen Arata 2 Writing this essay from the twenty-first century within an historical context it is easy to doubt the moral integrity of Victorian British society and the imperialistic politics of the Empire however it was the fin-de-siecles proliferating social decline and moralistic decay that provided a spring-board for male writers such as Stevenson and Conrad to create their fictional work The relation between writer and society is reciprocal the writer is inspired by the frenzy of public life while the readership public are influenced and guided by the literary word With this in mind and from a Marxist perspective it is clear that any piece of literary work has a social significance A nationis held together in part by the stories it generates about itselfHeroic narrativesare
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