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This term has suddenly come into prominence, as describing a class of popular modern literature. Dr. Nordau's work on "Degeneracy" has created a profound impression and roused bitter criticism and extravagant praise. He attempts to show that the literature and many of the popular authors of to-day are degenerate and diseased. Dr. Nordau is not only a physician and practical student of mental disease, but a clear, vigorous thinker and writer and has made out a very strong case. While a large number of physicians are not very familiar with many of the authors described, they will recognize the evidence presented, and will follow the author with keen pleasure in his grouping of symptoms and the deductions which follow. There can be doubt from the writings alone, that a large class of books widely read are the products of thoroughly diseased minds. Stories, essays, poetry and discussions of popular topics
DEGENERACY.. JAMA. 1895;XXV(3):117-118. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430290035003