Juliet Simpson discusses the North as a site of primitive energies. Simpson explores key ways in which a developed fin de siècle interest in Gothic art and sites become pivotal to an expanded decadent vision and sensibility. These innovations reverberated in an extended Nordic engagement with Gothic artistic and cultural heritage as a trigger for an erotics of affect with determinant broader cultural and political resonances for tournant-de-siècle culture. Under scrutiny is J.-K. Huysman’s invocation of the Gothic primitive, echoed in two developed Nordic responses to Huysmans’s ideas, August Strinberg’s and Johannes Jørgensen’s, connecting the figure of an intertwined Nordic and Gothic Latinate barbare with an unseen modernity.