Decadent Spirit in „Pan and the Syrinx“ by Jules Laforgue


  • Frano Vrančić University of Zadar, Croatia


Decadence as a literary movement emerged in the 19th-century France, expressing contempt against the morality and reality of the then society. Jules Laforgue is enlisted among the decadent poets, and he used to ridicule various social aff airs and individual acts. Such is the case with Pan and the Syrinx, a parody offering pronounced irony, where the characters from the Classics are transposed into modern times and dealt with subsequently. In this piece Laforgue returns to the original legend of the sevenstraw pipe. Love and art both fulfil Pan’s spirit, the former as an illusion, the latter as a reality. In the beauty and spirit of the Syrinx, as well as in Pan’s abandonment to destiny we can recognize signs of contemporariness, where daydreaming about the ideal woman proves impossible, which emphasizes the poet’s point of inaccessability of an ideal.