Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fin de Siècle

The specific meaning of siècle is "century", but it has a more general sense; thus, the phrase FDS carries a double meaning when used to refer to the art of the 1890s, because one of the significant movements in French letters at that time was Decadence, which compared the modern metropolis to Rome immediately before its ruined empire fell to the barbarians. It is sometimes argued that the 1990s are similarly haunted by a sense of termination, often likened to the Millennarian panic alleged to have swept Europe as AD1000 approached; the phrase is occasionally used in that context to apply to contemporary fantasies of moral dereliction and the Apocalypse. [BS]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.