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This article aims at demonstrating the double hypothesis that hypertextuality both constitutes the essence of the end of the century’s literature and explains the negative term of « decadence » used to describe the literary production of the 1880–1900’s. Reading the two founding texts of the decadence, Huysmans’ A rebours (1884) and Les Déliquescences, poèmes décadents d’Adoré Floupette (1885), one can draw some of the major consequences of these practices of rewriting. They mark the end of a mimetic regime of literature defended by the Classics and the Realists, in which the aim is to represent the world, and substitute a new form of creation based on the texts only. They destroy in the same way the claim of originality praised to the skies by the Romantics. Those rewrites also contribute to the setting of new reading strategies that demand culture and erudition. Literature is affected by the rewritings of which she is constantly the object and which sometimes take the appearance of mystifications more or less melancholic. The use of hypertextuality both threatens and enchants literature.
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