Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
This chapter focuses on the relationship between Decadence and cinema through a study of the novels of Carl Van Vechten. As neo-Decadence emerged in America in the 1920s writers responded to a range of new technologies largely unknown to earlier writers such as Wilde. Van Vechten embraced the new media of cinema, writing novels about and treatments for Hollywood and the cinema industry. He saw Hollywood through the eyes of a Decadent and Decadence through the lens of a movie camera. From Van Vechten’s second novel, The Blind Bow-Boy (1923), through Spider Boy: A Scenario for a Moving Picture (1928), to his final novel Parties: Scenes from Contemporary New York Life (1930) his Decadent style depicted the excesses of Hollywood while being formally shaped by the visual and narrative modes of cinema.