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Nordau

lie, writings, treatment and french

NORDAU, nor'dou, MAX SIMON (1849). A German author, pathological critic of literature and of morals, and a prominent leader in the Zionist movement in Europe. Ile was born in Budapest of an educated Jewish family; studied medicine in the university of that city, getting his degree in 1872, and after six years of travel throughout. Europe practiced in his native town for two years. His earlier writings, chiefly for newspapers and showing something of his later censorious manner, were reprinted under the titles, Ails dent ten /urn 11 illiardenland ; Vote K reml zur Alhambra ( 1880) ; and Paris totter der dril len Republik ( 18811. Two years (1880-82) were spent in further medical study in Paris, where Nordau established himself in practice. In France and Germany his literary reputation began with Non ten t ionelle Litgen der Fslhrrmensc/ibcil ( 1884 ; French a 1880; Eng., 2d ed. 1805), a bold attack on the ethics of modern civilization in general, with particular treatment of the 'religions lie,' or false reverence for the Bible: of the 'govern mental lie.' or the falsity of monarchy and aristocracy: of the 'economic lie,' or the untruth of our social system; of the 'social lie,' urging the falsity of conventhmal marriage laws, and not, as some of his critics have urged, a frenzied treatise against the white lies of society. In

the same spirit was Pa rado:re ( 1885; 7th ed. 1901 ; French trans. 1596; and in English, 1895), ironic rather than pessintistie in tone. Nordau's fame in England and America rests almost en tirely (unfortunately) on the third of his satiric works, Dcycncrrhion (1S93). from the German En la 1.1 un a, a vigorous polemic against vice or abnormality, and a eulogium of decency in literature and art, at times approaching prudery. The work was dedicated to Cesare Lombroso. and, like the studies of that alienist, has for its theme the relation between genius and de generacy. Nordau a pproa clips t he quest ion from the and moral side: examines the work of art produced. and if it be immoral and foul argues that the artist is, p rg o degen erate, and no genius. The manner of treatment is large and loose. and the chief value of the work is ethical. Nordau's other writings in elude the novels, Die Kranklicit Acs Jahrhau dgets (1889 i, (if/Oils/on/Iodic (1891), and Drohneasehhielit 1 18971; the plays, Nene Jour a ( 1880, with h Ferdinand Gross) Kriry it r .11illiom n (18821. Das Becht zu lieben (15931 Die Kugel 118911, and hr. Kohn (1893) ; and a volume of essays, Zeitgeniissiselic Fran:.-oscn (19ot).