épater le bourgeois

épater le bourgeois is a French phrase that became a rallying cry for the French Decadent poets of the late 19th century including Baudelaire and Rimbaud. It means to shock the middle-classes.

A new phrase for me as I did not follow the French Decadent poets of the late 19th century. Decadent writers used elaborate, stylized language to discuss taboo and often unsavory topics, such as death, depression, and deviant sexualities.

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