My copy of Praz’s The Romantic Agony arrived Thursday, with an introduction by Frank Kermode and the famous Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation (c.1485) by Memling on the cover. At times it reads as the gossip pages from the Decadents. Here is a quote on the supposed impotence of Baudelaire:
“[The] case of Baudelaire’s exotic exclusiveness will be understood, and of his strange conduct towards Madame Sabatier, and it can be why so many people give credit to the rumour reported by Nadar. (Baudelair’s impotence, generally admitted in this case, is denied by Flottes.)” pages 153 and 187 of The Romantic Agony.
It seems that I was wrong about Praz’s ‘panning’ of the decadence of late romantic literature. In his introduction Praz that it is his aim to describe the what-is-ness of this sensibility (morbidity and perversion) in romantic literature.