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"....nostalgia for an aristocratic medievalism, which opposed the bourgeois materialism of the modern zeitgeist.

"...transmuted the urban pessimism of Zola’s naturalism into a preternatural landscape of demons and saints engaged in an eschatological battle for the soul of humanity.

As the decadents’ most fanatical exemplar of medieval indulgence, Bloy observed the anchoritic vows of both poverty and suffering for the whole of his professional life, a choice that alienated him from bourgeois Catholicism and the institutions of literary Paris. It also earned him the dubious honorific of the Ungrateful Beggar among his friends and enemies."

“Woe to him who has not begged!” he writes. “There is nothing greater than begging. God begs. The Angels beg … The dead beg. All that is in light and glory begs.” Like Huysmans, he briefly joined the Trappist order but was evidently turned away by the cloister to better serve the cities’ unconverted. The Irish Catholic scholar Shane Leslie writes, “Poverty, suffering, symbolism—these were the three corners of Bloy’s heart; but they dealt not in secret places, for he lavished the full fury of his style upon their elucidation.”

Léon Bloy’s Decadent, Perverse “Disagreeable Tales”

I became interested in this 19th century Ultraconservative Roman Catholic writer when i read a poem of his in the Catholic Worker newspaper about two years ago.  I thought of him again when someone made the assertion that all mystics are possitive people.  He came to mind when i read The Prague Cemetary (he would have made a great character in Eco's novel).  I thought of him again last week when there was a strange shooting (or a shooting by a sstrange shooter.)  Bloy could have written an interesting short story or essay based on that event.  It also occurred to  me that  the shooter, Kyle Edom, and Bloy might share some intgeresting traits.  Here is a thesis:  The mystic is the ultimate radical, dogma always prevents the full flowering of her or his awareness.  When the mystical soul meets the consevative mind, something has to give.  Either the mystical message is toned down or the conservative philosophy is softened.  If neither the vision nor the dogmatism gives ground, someone like Leon Bloy (or Kyle Odom) emerges.



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