Abstracts & Bios

Peter K. Andersson (Lund University), ‘Semi-Gentleman and Decadent Twits: Lower-Class Dandyism from Late-Victorian London to Late-Oscarian Stockholm’.

Male youth subcultures in the late nineteenth century have attracted increasing attention from scholars in recent years, charting both the rough and criminal gangs of the Manchester ‘scuttlers’ and the Birmingham ‘peaky blinders’ and the more elegant but just as riotous mashers and swells among the lower middle-class clerks of central London. But little consideration has been taken of the youth cultures that existed in other European cities and the connections that existed between them. For the Piccadilly masher had close relations with the style, demeanour and context of the Viennese ‘Gigerl’, who in turn was a prototype for the popular dandyist cultures that emerged among the variety-goers and loungers of 1890s Stockholm.

In the early 1890s, a few gossip columnists in Stockholm identified the occurrence of a new type of young men congregating in some of the entertainment establishments of the budding metropolis. These young men dressed in a highly specific manner, with wide and short trousers, yellow waistcoats, bowlers a few sizes too small and a walking-stick thick as a club and too short to reach the ground. They were considered upstarts with semi-criminal liaisons, and were mainly to be found in the newly opened Jones Grill restaurant, which gave rise to the epithet of ‘grilljanne’ (roughly ‘grill-johns’). In the following years, the grilljanne subculture was to be fervently derided in the press and parodied on the variety stage while simultaneously becoming a media phenomenon spawning boundless merchandise.

This obscure and virtually unexplored urban subculture illustrates how currents of fashion, lifestyle and cultures of decadence flowed between the European cities of the late nineteenth century with a surprising intensity, how people in marginal cities eagerly adopted trends from the cultural centres but at the same time adapting them and altering them according to their own conditions. The spread of youth cultures in this period shows how metropolitan culture dispersed but also how regional identities reappropriated the modern influences, creating hybrid cultures. By studying these variations, it is possible to reveal how modernity was only a small part in a broad negotiation of tradition and innovation in the peripheral urban milieus of the fin-de-siècle.

Bio: Peter K. Andersson is a postdoctoral researcher in history at Lund University, Sweden. His research deals with everyday life and body language in the Victorian period.


Maria Athanasekou (University of Athens), ‘The Art of Burne-Jones and its Contribution to the Development of Symbolism in Greek Visual Culture in the Fin de Siècle’.

This paper concerns the artistic work of Edward Burne-Jones and the impact it had on the Greek art of the fin de siècle. Through historical inspection of painting in England and Greece around 1900, the thematography and genres of painting that flourished in both countries, as well as their social framework, will be discussed.  Focus will also be placed upon the ties between the art of Burne-Jones and Greek painters who launched Symbolism at a time when its reception was rather poor, but, nevertheless, found its way to Greek visual culture at the end of the nineteenth century. Constantinos Parthenis (1878-1967), to mention but one, is among the most celebrated and enigmatic Greek artists, an artist that  painted in the spirit of Symbolism and was deeply influenced by the work of Burne-Jones.

Works by Greek painters of the said period will be discussed in terms of their iconography, style and influences by the work of Edward Burne-Jones. The iconographic prototypes and the correlation between the Greek painters and the British artist’s works will be presented. Also, the relation between the artist and the Greek community in London will be discussed. The Anglo-Greek community, the intellectual ties and Burne-Jones’ personal involvement with the Ionides family, will be among the issues that this paper will include as its scope.

Based on the discussion of these observations, new approaches will come to light which will contribute to a deeper understanding of the special importance of Burne-Jones’ work in the formation of Greek Symbolism in the fin de siècle.

Bio: Maria Athanasekou is an art historian with special research interest in Renaissance and 19th-20th century European art.  I hold a PhD in art history (National Technical University of Athens-NTUA), an MA in Renaissance Studies (University of London, Birkbeck College) and a BA in Archaeology and History of Art (University of Athens -UOA). I have been teaching art history at the UOA, Plato Academy, the NTUA and other state and private institutions. I have delivered papers at a number of international conferences, some of which already have been or are to be published. I have also written papers for periodicals and museum editions.


Peter A. Bailey (The College of the Bahamas), ‘Ronald Firbank and Possibility of a West Indian Decadence’.

Belinda Edmondson argues that the first generation of West Indian writers asserted themselves by embracing Victorian writerly models of gentlemanliness and rejecting Victorian characterizations of a primitive and savage West Indies. But Edmondson does not imagine a decadent Caribbean that these writers abjected, probably because the New World associations of the West Indies with nascent civilization suggest that the late-civilizational effects of Decadence were never linked to the region.  However, this paper will explore the extent to which a literary conception of West Indian decadence was generated during the fin de siècle by considering the work of the late-Victorian Ronald Firbank. Victorian linguistic models linked the creation of pidgins and creoles with an idea of decadent English—an ailing language whose syntax and vocabulary was sickened by contact with other languages. Thus, Firbank’s novelistic record of the social misadventures and creolized speech of an Afro-Caribbean family living in a West Indian island, Prancing Nigger, can be seen as a reflection on the West Indies as a productive site for decadent discourse. When twentieth century Caribbean writers like V S Naipaul and Samuel Selvon represented creole-speaking people of the British West Indies, the first reviewers of their texts evaluated the effect of the characters’ speech by comparing the novelists to Firbank.  Therefore, Naipaul complains, ‘The social comedies I write can be fully appreciated only by someone who knows the region I write about … Without that knowledge … There can also be misunderstanding: the critic of the Observer thinks I get my dialect from Ronald Firbank. Naipaul was forced to claim the authenticity and vitality of the creole he rendered by rejecting any influence from Firbank. It would be useful to examine the ideas about linguistic and thematic Decadence that Firbank may have circulated in his texts about the West Indies, if only to have an expanded notion of the alternate West Indies that have been displaced in the canonical formation of Anglophone Caribbean literature.

Bio: Peter A. A. Bailey is Assistant Professor in the School of English Studies at the College of the Bahamas. His areas of interest include decadence, queer theory and gender studies.  He is currently working on a manuscript calledAestheticism and the Erotics of Pedagogy.


Arunima Bhattacharya (University of Leeds), ‘End of the century Calcutta in Rudyard Kipling’s City of Dreadful Night and R.J. Minneys’ Night Life of Calcutta’.

The end of the 19th century witnessed a significant literary engagement with the urban experience in Europe (i.e. Baudelaire’s work). This effect was also felt in the imperial and colonial geographies. This paper would like to explore the turn of the century urban experience in the colonial context of Calcutta. Calcutta, the capital of British India till 1911, was putatively called the ‘Second City’ of the British Raj. In the early decades of the twentieth century the capital cities in the colonies took on a complex metropolitan character, serving as the local center for social, political and economic purposes (Marshall Berman 1982; Swati Chattopadhyay 2005).  Rudyard Kipling and R.J Minney, a lesser known journalist and brief resident of Calcutta, explored the city and recorded their experiences in the books City of Dreadful Night (1888) and Night Life of Calcutta (1922) respectively. Both these authors present intriguing narratives of the native parts of the city contrasting their chaos and crime with the order and precision of the adjoining British settlement. The narrators of both these books undertake guided strolls through opium dens, prostitute quarters and sailor’s haunts to present a curious and sinister netherworld which existed in the shadows of British administration.

Across the latter half of the 19th century and the early part of 20th century Calcutta witnessed the converegence of multiple cultures whose presence inspired the spatial character of the city. My paper argues that these narratives adopt the end of the century fascination with the urban phenomenon of cosmopolitanism and its diversifying tendencies through the trope of flânerie to construct a version of Calcutta during the turn of the century.

Bio: Arunima Bhattacharya is a PhD candidate at the School of English in the University of Leeds, UK. She is working with the erstwhile colonial city-space of Calcutta and literature that contributes towards spatial narratives of the metropole. She has completed her M.Phil. from Jadavpur University, West Bengal, India. She is also the co-founder of the Women’s Paths Research group funded by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute. Her research interests include urban geography, spatiality, colonial historiography, visual culture, gender and identity.


Kostas Boyiopoulos (Durham University), ‘The “Athenian Dorian Gray”: Napoleon Lapathiotis, Disciple of Oscar Wilde’.

In this paper I explore forgotten geographies of fin-de-siècle Greece by introducing for the first time in English the Greek poet and aesthete of early twentieth-century and interwar periods Napoleon Lapathiotis (1888–1944). My aim is to highlight Lapathiotis’s life and work as consciously and decisively shaped by British Aestheticism, especially Oscar Wilde and his ideas. Lapathiotis emerges as an important voice of Modern Greek literature and, although he has been barely studied, there is a resurgence of interest in him in recent years.

Lapathiotis was an antinomian, heretical littérateur who belonged to the so-called Neo-Romantic or Neo-Symbolist school of Athens. A flagrant homosexual, flamboyant dandy, artistic celebrity, atheist, Napoleon crafted his life as a work of art. He hailed from a rich family; his father was a general who later became government minister. Born into high society yet resisting social conservatism and the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, Lapathiotis mirrored Wilde, causing scandal and delighting in it. Plagued by ennui, he was a true Wildean provocateur who famously declared: ‘I want notoriety’.  He committed suicide impoverished, disillusioned by the harsh realities of his times.

He is the closest representative of the Aesthetic movement in Modern Greece, as this is expressed chiefly by Walter Pater and Wilde. Although he wrote fiction, criticism, plays, and even composed music, Lapathiotis was predominantly a poet. The contemporary intelligentsia called him ‘prince of poets’. As early as 1905 he published poetry in numerous literary magazines and newspapers in Athens, characterised by workmanship and steeped in sensuality. He penned a number of manifestoes in defense of Aestheticism. K. Stergiopoulos called him ‘an Athenian Dorian Gray’. In this paper I will identify Lapathiotis’s various references and links to Wilde and the British aesthetes, revealing in the process the city of Athens as a distinctive, pulsating hotbed of late fin-de-siècle Aestheticism and Decadence.

Bio: Kostas Boyiopoulos is Teaching Associate in the Department of English Studies, Durham University. He specialises in fin-de-siècle Aestheticism and Decadence. He is the author of The Decadent Image: The Poetry of Wilde, Symons, and Dowson (Edinburgh UP, 2015), and co-editor of the essay collectionDecadent Romanticism (Ashgate, 2015) and The Decadent Short Story: An Annotated Anthology(Edinburgh UP, 2014). He has published articles on Arthur Machen, Wilde, Cavafy, and others. He has co-organised international conferences on ‘Aphoristic Modernity, 1890 – 1950’ (U of York, 4/7/2015) and ‘Maverick Voices & Modernity, 1890–1939’ (Durham U, 5–6/7/2013).


Ellen Brinks (Colorado State University) ‘Globalizing the Nursery: Women Writers and the Indian Folktale for Children, 1880-1920’

In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, British folklorists overseas collected a vast array of folktales from colonized populations. Driven by scholarly as well as political motives and passions, the folklorists’ work went on to inspire a wide array of fin-de-siècle literary treatments and adaptations of this archive of vernacular materials. Well-known literary figures of 1880-1920, including Flora Annie Steel, Lal Behari Day, Alice Dracott, Cornelia Sorabji, Georgina Kinscote, and Rabindranath Tagore, contributed to the aestheticizing and popularizing of the Indian storytelling traditions for both British and Indian audiences. Hitherto, neither this important transnational community of writers, nor the presence of Indian vernacular genres in the mainstream English-language literary forms of both Great Britain and India between 1880-1920 has garnered the scholarly attention it deserves. My paper for the Forgotten Geographies conference will contribute toward rectifying that lacuna in fin-de-siècle studies.

Beginning with an overview of some of the manifold cultural and aesthetic uses to which these Indian folk- and fairytale traditions were put, my presentation will focus on one particular imagined community constituted by the popularization of these tales by women writers – namely, a global nursery of Indian and British children. Cornelia Sorabji’s Sun-Babies (1904), Between the Twilights (1908), and Indian Tales Of the Great Ones (1916), as well as Flora Annie Steel’s Wide-Awake Stories: A Collection of Tales Told by Little Children (1884) and Tales of the Punjab Told by the People (1894) shift the audience for the Indian folktale away from scholarly and/or adult audiences to children and firmly re-orient its purpose. Instead of pointing to the origins or dispersion of a universalizing Indo-European tradition, or offering a quaint portrayal of an archaic mindset, Steel’s and Sorabji’s adapted folktales for children mediate colonial relations through the representation of a global community of childhood and motherhood constituted via literary form. The bi-culturalism of Sorabji and Steel – and their “maternal” purveyance of this folk archive to British and Indian children – complicate our understandings of fin-de-siècle women writers’ gendered engagements with the cultural politics of empire and the inscription of childhood into the imperial project during a period of increasing Indian cultural and political nationalism.

Bio: Ellen Brinks is a professor of English at Colorado State University. Her most recent book is Anglophone Indian Women Writers, 1870-1920, published by Ashgate Press. Her research and teaching interests center on the nineteenth century and postcolonial and transnational approaches to literature, most especially the cultural contexts of gender and sexuality and the tensions between individual and social expressions of identity.


Alex Bubb (King’s College London), ‘Nations Once Again: What does Persia have to do with the Irish Literary Revival?’

Among bibliographers there has long been a popular story: passing Bernard Quaritch’s bookshop in 1861, Swinburne and D.G. Rossetti supposedly plucked from the bargain-bin a copy of Fitzgerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, setting off a Persophile craze among the writers and painters of their circle. However, it has now been firmly established that the real discoverer of this chance volume – and its tireless promoter over the ensuring twelve months – was neither poet but rather the Irish antiquary and colonial administrator Whitley Stokes. As he went about sponsoring a coterie vogue, Stokes could little have anticipated the ubiquity the poem would go on to attain, first in America and then, reappearing on British bookshelves in the late 1880s, as one of the quintessential poems of the fin de siècle. Seeking to emulate its popularity, at this point a host of lesser writes would attempt to ride on Fitzgerald’s coat-tails with their own renditions of Omar or other Persian poets, such that on his arrival from India in 1889, Rudyard Kipling deplored a book market flooded with what he called ‘cheap orientalism’. He was alluding specifically to another Irishman, the amateur Persianist Justin Huntley McCarthy. Like his fellow Persophile John Dillon, McCarthy was also a Home Rule MP – offensive to Kipling, and even more so to the unionist Stokes.

My current research project investigates the production of the popular oriental book in late Victorian Britain. In particular, I aim to explain how texts drawn from Persian and related literatures, which had been hitherto the preserve only of scholars, were in short order presented and commodified for popular readerships? Aiming to speak directly to the theme of Forgotten Geographies, this paper will specifically discuss the triangular nexus linking London, Persia and Ireland, with a particular focus on Stokes and the two politicians, his unwanted inheritors.

Bio: Alex Bubb is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King’s College London. He works on nineteenth-century poetry and aspects of Indian history, and aims to view fin-de-siècle culture from a global perspective. In February he published his first book Meeting Without Knowing It, a comparative study of Rudyard Kipling and W.B. Yeats in the 1890s.


Martina Ciceri (Sapienza – University of Rome), Crisscrossing Paths: Stepniak’s Russian Terrorist in Joseph Conrad’s writings’.

The cracks and crises of Late-Victorian culture accelerated, it is well-known, the blurring of national, social and intellectual borders, a fact that lead to bewildering transformations in cultural and literary discourses. The fostering of this culture of transiency and in-betweenness was eventually triggered by Russian émigrés, who inscribed new spaces, as well as new artistic sensibilities, in the literary map of England. What I wish to analyse in this paper is how the sudden appearance on stage of Russian figures writing in English articulated phenomena of cross-cultural dialogue that were to shape the cosmopolitan mode of modern aesthetics.

Sergei Mikhailovich Kravchinsky and Joseph Conrad are among the many voices who took active part in favouring Anglo-Russian encounters. In particular, they focused their attention on motifs of revolution and disorder, which were urgent issues in turn-of-the-century Russia. However divergent their ideologies, these émigré authors share a strong desire to cast Russian anti-modernity “under western eyes”, to be precise under English eyes, as their choice to write in the English language demonstrate. Comparing Stepniak’s novel The Career of a Nihilist (1889) and Conrad’s Under Western Eyes (1911), I argue that Stepniak’s rhetoric of terrorism did not only galvanise the circulation of eastern revolutionary ideas in England, but it also articulated a new narrative of community that contributed to the making of Conrad’s English aesthetics.

Bio: Martina Ciceri is a doctoral student at Sapienza – University of Rome (Italy) and a member of the Anglo-Russian Research Network since 2014. She is currently working on her PhD thesis entitled Anglo-Russian Aesthetic Transactions in late Victorian and Edwardian England. Martina has recently published on the influence of Ivan Turgenev’s aesthetics on Virginia Woolf’s The Years and her article entitled “Converging Orbits: Ford Madox Ford, Russian Paris and the Motifs of Expatriation” (International Ford Madox Ford Studies Vol 15) will be published shortly. Her research interests include cosmopolitan theories and practices, Anglo-Russian cross-cultural fertilizations, as well as the periodical press since the 1880s. Martina is the organiser of the international conference “Crossing the Borders: Anglo-Russian Contact Zones, 1880-1940” (Sapienza – University of Rome, 7 October 2016).


Bénédicte Coste (University of Burgundy), ‘The Forgotten (?) Geographer: Edmund Gosse’s Cosmopolitanism’.

Edmund Gosse belongs to the turn of the century’s forgotten literary geographers. A journalist, art and literary critic, poet and translator, and an influential man of letters from the 1880s to the 1920s, he now seems to occupy a somewhat shadowy place in the Britain’s cultural and literary history. Gosse edited and introduced many studies on English literature with a predilection for the 17th and 18th centuries, published a biography of C. A. Swinburne, along with many articles on European literature. Although critics have devoted studies on his articles on ‘New Sculpture’ in 1894, and on his translations (with W. Archer) and introductions to the works of Ibsen, and more generally to his relationship to Danish literature, much of his journalism remains to be explored and re-valued.

As a journalist, Gosse illustrates late-Victorian-early-twentieth-century cosmopolitanism against nationalism or sometimes rivalling it. His writings constitute a literary geography of the fin de siècle worth rediscovering as it embraces and adapts otherness, and attempt at charting a non-British canon, engaging with, but also constructing foreignness.

Within such a profusion of articles, languages and genres, my presentation will focus on Gosse’s relationship to ‘Oriental’ literature. Among other texts, I shall pay attention to the introduction he wrote to the Ancient ballads and legends of Hindustan by Toru Durut (1881), another cosmopolitan writer, born in India, partly educated in Europe. Uncannily mirroring Gosse, Toru Durut (1856-1877) was a translator (from Sanskrit and Bengali), a poet and novelist in both English and French, and a contributor to journals in Bengali, English and French. How Gosse envisions her writings is also relevant to his further interest in foreign literatures and cultures, and provides some insights on what may be termed the cosmopolitan vision and construction of Orientalism.

Bio: Bénédicte Coste teaches Victorian literature and culture at the University of Burgundy, France. She mainly works on Walter Pater and late-nineteenth- century writers. Her publications include: Walter Pater, esthétique (2011); Walter Pater, critique littéraire. ‘The Excitement of the Literary Sense’ (2010). With Professor Catherine Delyfer, she co-edited Aesthetic Lives (Rivendale, 2013). With Professor Delyfer and Professor Christine Reynier, she co-edited the forthcoming collection of essays Reconnecting Aestheticism and Modernism (Routledge, 2016).


Franklin E. Court (Northern Illinois University), ‘Colonel Frederick Burnaby’s A Ride to Khiva (1876) and the Recovery of Fin-de-Siècle Readers of the Splendors of a Shrouded Central Asiatic Past’.

This 20 minute slide/lecture presentation assesses the popularity of Colonel Frederick Burnaby’s travel narrative, A Ride to Khiva, as a  glimpse of Central Asia at the end of the 19th century intended for Victorian readers increasingly fascinated with high adventure associated with the myth of empire building.  They were also intrigued with the romantic possibility of someday actually traveling along the legendary Silk Road and discovering for themselves the mysterious expanses and forgotten Islamic monuments and artifacts of Central Asian culture.  To that end, Burnaby, an officer in the British Horse Guards, and a popular journalist who served as a war correspondent for the London Times and other British based papers and journals, gives his U.K. readers a close look at Khiva, an ancient caravan center for commerce as well as for the slave trade on the Silk Road. Ride to Khiva makes a case, for the first time in British publishing history, for Khiva, a city in Turkistan at the time, as a potential tourist attraction, a living museum, a fabled city, offering armchair tourists a first hand look at its priceless ancient Islamic artifacts and centuries old Islamic architecture.  Khiva was and is a fairy tale come true for people interested in Central Asian history and culture.  In 1991, UNESCO, after the break up of the Soviet Union, came to the same conclusion when it designated Khiva as a World Heritage Site. Burnaby, in the final analysis, appears to have been the first travel writer, writing in English, to make the case as early as 1876 for its cultural and artistic world class value.

Bio: Franklin E. Court, emeritus professor of English from Northern Illinois University (USA), is the author of five books and a score of articles in Canadian and American journals on subjects ranging widely from the history of English literary studies, to Jeremy Bentham, Celtic legends, the writings of Walter Pater, and Wisconsin history.  He was also chief editor for the English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 annotated secondary bibliography on Walter Pater (1980).  His most recent book, which reflects his growing interest in global geographical concerns, is a 2012 University of Wisconsin Press publication entitled Pioneers of Ecological Restoration: The People and Legacy of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum.


Kirby-Jane Hallum (University of Auckland), ‘Forgotten New Women: Scottish New Zealander’s Cross-Cultural Exchanges at the Fin de Siècle’.

In Making People: A History of the New Zealanders: From Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century (1996), James Belich notes that between 1831 and 1881, ‘the European population of New Zealand increased by 50,000 per cent – from fewer than a thousand people to half a million’.[1] The British influence on New Zealand literature and culture in the nineteenth century is well established, but the many thousands of Scots who immigrated to the colony as part the Scottish diaspora deserve discrete attention.

The identification of Scottish settlers as ‘British’ or ‘European’ New Zealanders can sometimes obscure their origin, with many New Zealanders today not realising that a number of our pioneering feminists were in fact Scottish-born, or the children of Scottish parents. Kate Sheppard, Elizabeth Yates, Anna Stout, Jessie Mackay and Learmonth Dalrymple, for example, were active in the New Zealand suffrage movement and also championed women’s participation in education and politics during the late nineteenth century.

In this paper I will pay particular attention to Jessie Mackay a poet, journalist, and social reformer whose writings bestride her dual Scottish and New Zealand identities, but also allow her to participate in political debates concerning the women’s movement. Some of her poems are in Scottish dialect and others make use of Māori legend, with the preface to her first collection of poems in 1891 documenting her hope for ‘the dawning on a national spirit’.[2]

This research also responds to the work of Megan Smitley and Eilidh Macrae, who have begun the work of distinguishing the Scottish New Woman from her English counterpart,[3] and I will thus consider how Scottish attitudes towards women’s emancipation were instituted in New Zealand where women’s enfranchisement was secured in 1893, making the country the first self-governing nation to allow women to vote in parliamentary politics.

Bio: Kirby-Jane Hallum received her PhD in English from the University of Auckland. Her research interests lie in the long 19th century, with particular focus on women’s and popular literature and her recent publications in Literature CompassWomen’s Writing and Victorian Network reflect her dual interests in Britain and New Zealand. Kirby-Jane’s monograph, Aestheticism and the Marriage Market in Victorian Popular Fiction: The Art of Female Beauty, was published by Pickering & Chatto in April 2015, and with support from a Ministry for Culture and Heritage New Zealand History Research Trust Award, she is currently embarking on a new project regarding colonial New Woman writing.


Kate Hext (University of Exeter), ‘“Don Carlos” and his “Gay Genius”: The Queer Transatlantic Flirtation of Carl Van Vechten and Ronald Firbank.

Between 1922 and 1925, two of the most prominent post-Wildean Decadent writers carried on an epistolary flirtation, which has since eluded critical comment. The letters between Van Vechten (in New York) and Firbank (in London, Europe and elsewhere) began on the basis on mutual admiration, with Van Vechten offering advice on the American market and writing two laudatory essays on his new friend’s novels. However, their correspondence was far more than professional. Addressing each other as ‘Dear Gay Genius’ and ‘Don Carlos’, respectively, Firbank and Van Vechten made numerous plans to meet. They swopped photos, personal compliments, and endearments, musing on everything from the meaning of ‘camping’ and musical comedy theatre to Bacardi cocktails. Yet none of their plans to meet in person ever came to fruition, due to Van Vechten, and Firbank’s last letter is unguarded in its disappointment and finality.

Drawing on their unpublished letters, held at the Berg Collection, NYPL, this paper tells the story of their mysteriously abbreviated friendship. It uses this as the basis to explore their mutual influence in Van Vechten’s The Blind Bow Boy(1923) and Firbank’s unfinished The New Rythum (1926). Through these foci, it seeks to expand current understanding of transatlantic post-Wildean Decadence and its relationship with emergence of camp culture in the early 1920s.

Bio: Dr Kate Hext is a lecturer in English at the University of Exeter. Her first monograph was Walter Pater: Individualism and Aesthetic Philosophy (Edinburgh UP, 2013), and her essays have appeared in publications including the Journal of Pre-Raphaelite StudiesVictoriographies: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Writing, 1890-1914, the Henry James Review, and the TLS.


Dominic Janes (Keele University), ‘Reginald Farrer’s Queer Love of Alpine and Himalayan flowers.

The death at the age of forty of the prominent writer and plant-hunter Reginald Farrer in 1920 was not simply of concern to his own family and the botanical community. Gardening was a passion shared by huge numbers of British people and this ensured that books such as Farrer’s My Rock-Garden (1908) were widely read and admired. But Farrer was not simply intent on studying and collecting botanical specimens from the Alps and the Himalayas since he was also in love with what he termed ‘the perverse little people of the hills’.[4] As indicated by the title of another of his books Among the Hills: A Book of Joy in High Places (1911) it was only amongst such “children of the hills” that he felt emotionally fulfilled.[5] Talking as other imperial Englishmen might have done of an admired human tribe he labelled saxifrages as a ‘glorious race’. Farrer regularly anthropomorphized the objects of his passion. Of Saxifraga lilacina, to give just one example, Farrer recorded that ‘this year he bloomed in character, and I have never in all my life seen a more exquisite creature’.[6] That he thought of these plants it seems as children on the cusp of puberty can be deduced from his remark on male and female flowers that a floral Romeo ‘can fertilise Juliet and cause her to conceive’.[7] Such adolescent loveliness could bring on a state of ecstasy which implicitly had sexual overtones, as when Farrer confides in his readers that ‘I grow stark drunk on the scent of the Cluster-Narcissus. It gives me a pleasure so sharp and deep as almost to be wicked, and an agony’.[8] In this paper I will argue that Farrer’s apparent eccentricities, and the fact that although they were sometimes derided they were more often accepted, can tell us a great deal about British aestheticism after the fall of Oscar Wilde and also about the sublimation of problematic erotic desires. Moreover this case study opens up new avenues into expanding the geographical range of materials that can be employed to write the queer histories of the fin de siècle if we understand queer love not merely to be between men or between women.

Bio: Dominic Janes is Professor of Modern History at Keele University. He is a cultural historian who studies texts and visual images relating to Britain in its local and international contexts since the eighteenth century. Within this sphere he focuses on the histories of gender, sexuality and religion. His most recent books are Picturing the Closet: Male Secrecy and Homosexual Visibility in Britain (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Visions of Queer Martyrdom from John Henry Newman to Derek Jarman (University of Chicago Press, 2015).


Jeremy Valentine Freeman (Concordia University), ‘Inter-Culture, Poetics & The Golden Threshold-The Decadent Will of Sarojini Nadu’.

In the fin de siècle poetry books by Sarojini Naidu The Golden Threshold (1905) and The Bird of Time (1912) is staged a complex inter-cultural moment of intense self-fashioning that unites Occident and Orient in a rich devotional hybridity of esoteric poetics, aesthetic mysticism, and communal identity. Naidu’s poetry books, in their intimate relation to the careers of Gosse and Symons participate in a unique chapter of British fin de siècle writing, of the migration of transnational desire, and the ‘negativity of the book’ as a ‘site of exchange’ where it participates, as Macherey writes, in an experience of otherness. Sarojini Naidu’s fin de siècle poetics may be understood as part of what Potolsky’s has termed a ‘decadent republic of letters’ and as part of a global cosmopolitanism that Keirstead implicates in ‘complex acts of translation, border-crossing, and hybridization’.

In this paper I argue that through Naidu’s evocation of the themes of ‘death’, ‘devotion’, and ‘children’ Naidu’s books exist at a ‘hybrid’ ‘inter-cultural’ ‘site of exchange’ that incorporates British, Hindu and Islamic poetic traditions through the usage of decadent rhetoric, Hindu and Islamic myth, ritualization of aesthetic encounters, and traditional English poetic forms. Naidu uses poetic forms, rich in decadent rhetoric, and marries these poetic forms to such themes as the evocation of polytheistic mystical aesthetic experiences, life in Hyderabad, and the love of her children.  Naidu’s notable poetics of inter-cultural syncretism, mystical aestheticism, and local culture alters the terms of the local and the global in fin de siècle decadent discourse and adumbrates the rich, secretive, and esoteric spiritual poetics that underlies decadent writing from Wilde’s The Sphinx to the poetry of Lionel Johnson, and on to such pivotal works defining the fin de siècle and modernity as Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal, Eliot’s The Waste Land and Tagore’s Gitanjali.

Bio: Jeremy Valentine Freeman is presently completing his doctorate in fin de siècle British Literature and Culture at Concordia University in Montreal. His dissertation explores modes of Self-Fashioning and Aesthetic Form in the Fin de Siècle poetry book, specifically in the works of Wilde, Davidson, Edward Carpenter, and Sarojini Naidu. He is assistant editor of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net and has published an essay in a special edition of Gramma on the nineteenth-century book and has an article forthcoming in Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens on Lionel Johnson, textual deviation, the posthumous poetry collection, and modernism’s rejection of fin de siècle aestheticism.


Katharina Herold (Pembroke College, University of Oxford), ‘“Away to Egypt!” – Cosmopolitan Conglomeration and Orientalist Appropiation in Oscar Wilde’s The Sphinx’.

Following a wave of Egyptomania that swept through England after the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian war, Egyptian monuments in the British Museum came to physically embody the imperialist dis-placement through which Eastern images found their way into European artistic and literary canons. Wilde viewed such ‘appropriation of non-Western artefacts’ as an injection of ‘new life into a moribund aesthetic tradition’.[9] At the same time Wilde did not accept a dichotomy of proto-Orientalist East/West binaries: ‘[…] the world and not the country was the province of the artist, and the harmony he looked for was not the harmony of the country, or of the century, or of history, but purely the harmony of the eye’.[10] Cosmopolitanism, then, as much as Orientalism, if considered as aesthetic concepts, become a conglomerate out of different styles and national ‘ornaments’ in the service of the artwork. Wilde’s own Orient is inspired by impressions from his father’s extended travels to the Middle East and North Africa in 1837,[11] literary French influences ranging from Gautier, Flaubert to Baudelaire, Charles Rickett’s art collection including Egyptian and Persian artefacts[12] and not least his own keen interest in ancient archaeology.[13]  Looking at images from the Middle East in Wilde’s poem The Sphinx (published 1894), my paper interrogates Wilde’s literary manifestation of this cosmopolitan ideal of appropriation and conglomeration of forgotten geographies such as Egypt. Does Wilde’s resistance to nationalistic specification qualify as Orientalist because it ignores political implications of engrossing foreign cultural traits and disconnecting them from their history? Or indeed, could we consider Wilde a pioneer of multicultural fusion of national identities that results in celebrating literature as the ideal of aestheticist beauty transcending categories of national origin?

Bio: Katharina Herold is studying for a DPhil English Literature at the University of Oxford supported by an AHRC grant. She trained and worked as a theatre director in Germany before embarking on a BA degree in English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths College, London, followed by an MSt in English Literature (1830-1914) at Oxford. Her DPhil thesis investigates the ways in which the East shaped English and German Decadent writing between 1880-1920. Her article ‘Dancing the Image – Sensoriality and kinaesthetics in the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé and Arthur Symons’ is due to be published in the Bloomsbury Sensory Studies (LEGENDA, 2016).


Richard Kaye (City University of New York), ‘The Moment of Akademos:  Sexual Politics, the Hellenic Inheritance, and the Fortunes of Little-Magazine Cosmopolitan Practice

One of the most intriguing early-twentieth-century little magazines was the French-language Akademos, edited by the Paris-based dandy, writer, and cultural provocateur Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen. A monthly that appeared for a single year, 1909, the handsomely-produced Akademos promoted Hellenic ideals, aesthetic and decadent artistic trends, and an eclectic range of contemporary writers. The eleven issues of the journal were filled with paeans to Antinous, St. Sebastian, and Sappho, meditations on androgyny, and reviews of current art, musical, and scientific innovations.  Akademos published an international range of writers including Henri Barbusse, Xavier Marcel Bouletsin, Colette, George Eekhoud, Achille Essebac, Claude Farrère, Maxim Gorky, Filippo Tomasso Marinetti, Joséphin Peladan, Edmond Pilon, Leonard Sarluis, Arthur Symons, and Laurent Tailhade – a diverse roster of talent that suggests that the magazine’s ideological outlook was unusually complex. And although devoted to classical ideals, the journal was alert to non-Western creative traditions, evident in the translations of Javanese legends and Arabic poetry that it published.  Moreover, unlike its earlier British counterparts such as The Yellow Book, the homosexual politics of Akademos were not coded. In the wake of widely-covered 1909 scandal in which a Paris butler was convicted for murder in part because of his alleged homosexuality, Akademos published a remarkably militant essay, Guy Delrouze’s “Le Préjugé Contre les Moeurs,” that fulminated on behalf of homosexual rights. Akademos was the very first avowedly homosexual publication in France.

My talk explores the significance of this neglected journal in forging links between aestheticism, decadence, and sexual radicalism. To the extent that Akademos has been the subject of critical attention, its legacy has been ambiguous.  In his recent account of twentieth-century sexual attitudes in France, the historian Julian Jackson derided the journal for its ‘elitist, misogynist and Hellenic idea of homosexuality’, a project, according to Jackson, that in lasting a year had little cultural impact. To be sure, like its little-magazine counterparts in Britain, Akademos tended to construe male same-sex desire in marked opposition to female interests. One article criticized contemporary French writing by women as awash in ‘sickly sentimental confessions’ – the exception being the writer Colette, whose sexually experimental fiction Akademos published.

I argue that the journal supported women writers only insofar as they embraced the journal’s progressive erotic agenda – one that, significantly, embraced both male and female same-sex erotics. Furthermore, in addition to focusing on ‘Le Préjugé Contre les Moeurs’, my talk considers a novel that appeared in serial form in AkademosLes Fréquentations de Maurice by Xavier Marcel Bouletsin (under the pseudonym ‘Sidney Plank’), which dealt with a homosexual dandy’s adventures in a glittering, vice ridden London. Bouletsin’s novel was published in book form in 1912 and, as I speculate, may have prompted E.M. Forster’s novel of same-sex love, Maurice, that the British novelist began in 1913 (by which point Bouletsin had taken up residence in London, where he would establish himself as a well-known restaurateur). Finally, my talk considers recent speculation by French several scholars that before it folded Akademos considered establishing a formal relationship with the pioneering German homosexual-rights activist and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld in order to transform Akademos into a journal devoted to a single issue – homosexual rights – and written in several languages.  That failed proposition evokes the poignant, tantalizing ambitions of Akademos as it sought to expand its radical sexual agenda through an enhanced cosmopolitan network.


Rebecka Klette (Birkbeck College, University of London), ‘Transnationalising Degeneration: The Reception and Application of Degeneration Theory in Swedish Racial Biology, 1870-1922’.

During the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century, degeneration emerged as the spectre haunting the evolutionary nightmares of many European scientists and writers, and so also Scandinavian nightmares: Swedish racial biologist Herman Lundborg argued that the ‘inner enemy’ was to be found in the degeneration – defined as ‘hereditary inferiority causing racial deterioration’ – of the Swedish race. While degeneration t 1 heory in England and on the continent has been thoroughly explicated during the past years, little scholarly attention has been given to the influences and transnational exchanges of degenerationist thought between Scandinavia, England, and the Continent during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth century. This paper aims to contribute to degeneration studies by illuminating lesser known works on degeneration, as well as by tracing how degenerationist rhetoric and knowledge was disseminated into Swedish academic circles, where it manifested itself in cultural debate, racial sciences, and literature. My source material will primarily concern scientific studies by Swedish scientists Salomon Henschen, Gustav Retzius, and Herman Lundborg, as well as Swedish responses to various international works on degeneration, such as those by Nordau, Mantegazza, Spencer, and Lombroso. Similarly, degeneration was appropriated as a literary trope by several Scandinavian authors, discernible in the works of August Strindberg, Hjalmar Söderberg, Henrik Ibsen, and Herman Bang. My paper aspires to broaden the geographical scope of degeneration studies by juxtaposing the notion of late nineteenth-century British degenerationist thought as a closed system of knowledge with a wider, more inclusive network of mutual contributions between European scientists. Furthermore, I will stress the importance of degeneration theory to Swedish racial sciences, fuelling eugenic efforts to regenerate the vigour of the Swedish race, culminating in the founding of the Swedish National Institute of Eugenics in 1922, with Herman Lundborg as director.

Bio: Rebecka Klette completed an MA in Victorian Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2015. She was recently accepted to the Mphil/PhD programme in History at Birkbeck, to commence in October 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Joanna Bourke. Her thesis will concern the reception and incorporation of degeneration theory into Scandinavian racial biology, science and culture, 1880-1922.


Marja Lahelma (University of Helsinki), ‘Finnish-British Artistic Exchange Around 1900.

In 1895 the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela travelled to London. Quite little is known about this trip, but we do know that around this time Gallen-Kallela, like many other Finnish artists of his generation, was starting to distance himself from contemporary French art. He warned his pupil Hugo Simberg about the decadent and degenerating atmosphere of Paris, and suggested that Simberg would travel to London, which was morally superior to Paris and therefore more suitable for a Nordic artist. According to Gallen-Kallela (paraphrased by Simberg): ‘Frenchmen are capable of living a sensual life and still working productively. Us Nordics, on the other hand cannot live like that. We must dedicate ourselves almost entirely to work. – Englishmen are quite similar to us in character. They may have a deep emotional life, but it is not visible on the outside’.

This anecdote reflects the awakening of interest in British art that took place in Finland around the mid-1890s. The subject remains a more or less unwritten chapter in Finnish art history, but there are several clues that suggest that British art may have had a more important role in the development of Finnish art of the period than it has been given credit for. Only a few artists visited the British Isles, but ideas were disseminated through a number of contact persons and, most importantly, though The Studio which started to appear in 1893. Despite language difficulties, the journal gained instant popularity among Finnish artists for whom it served as a source of inspiration for the new decorative style in art, design, and architecture. This paper explores some of these links between the two countries, and seeks to reassess the meaning and significance of this artistic exchange in the late nineteenth-century context.

Bio: Dr Marja Lahelma is an art historian who specialises in Nordic art around the turn of the twentieth century. She received her PhD in art history from the University of Helsinki in 2014. She has published several articles on Nordic art and artists, questions of the self and subjectivity, and the relationship between art, science, and esotericism. She currently holds a visiting research position at the University of Edinburgh, and is working on a project on decadence in Nordic art.


Katharine Murphy (University of Exeter), ‘From the Periphery to the Centre: Pío Baroja, Joseph Conrad and Turn-Of-the-Century Fiction in Spain and Britain’.

Spanish literary history of the turn of the twentieth century is still defined frequently by the critical concept of the ‘Generation of 1898’. Yet the insular perspective encouraged by the term has long obscured parallels between Spanish writers and the fin de siècle in a British and European context.

Pío Baroja’s particular admiration for the works of Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson has only encouraged his reputation both as an anachronistic adherent to dominant nineteenth-century literary modes such as Realism, and for favouring the storytelling of the adventure novel. Challenging these critical assumptions, my paper proposes an alternative paradigm that seeks connections between the works of Baroja and those of his contemporary Joseph Conrad, an author with whom he shares notable concerns in relation to theme and form.

I address recent research on the European reception of Joseph Conrad, as well as Baroja’s literary legacy for his British and American successors, notably Huxley, Hemingway and Dos Passos, in the context of cross-cultural interactions. My comparison, however, does not seek primarily to posit direct influence, but is founded instead on a broader model of philosophical and cultural exchange across national borders in the long fin de siècle or fin de siglo. The analysis focuses on the narrative representation of multiple identities, solipsism and impenetrable selfhood in Conrad’s Lord Jim (1899) and Baroja’s César o nada (1911). Through comparison of two authors writing from the margins (one Spanish, one Polish), I explore striking commonalities between their fictional production. Looking afresh at standard geographies of the fin de siècle and the traditional boundaries between centre and periphery, my paper positions Baroja and Conrad as literary counterparts across national borders in turn-of-the-century Spain and Britain.

Bio: Dr Katharine Murphy is Senior Lecturer and Programme Director in Hispanic Studies at the University of Exeter, UK. She is author of Re-Reading Pío Baroja and English Literature (2004) and Bodies of Disorder: Gender and Degeneration in Baroja and Blasco Ibáñez (forthcoming with Legenda in 2017). Katharine specialises in early-twentieth-century Spanish prose fiction, particularly the works of Pío Baroja. She has published widely on Spanish Modernism and Comparative Literature, and was a lead organiser for the 60th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland, hosted by the University of Exeter in April 2015.


Alex Murray (Queen’s University Belfast), ‘The Only Decadent in Ulster’.

The province of Ulster was an unlikely home for an aspiring Decadent. Provincial, industrial, conservative, and torn by sectarian division, the North-East of Ireland was seemingly a world away from the cosmopolitanism of Paris and London. Yet the novelist Forrest Reid (1875-1947) – with the exception of four years studying modern and ancient languages at Cambridge – was to spend his entire life living in and writing about the city of Belfast and rural County Down. Reid’s life and works are shot through with Decadence and aestheticism: he corresponded with Arthur Symons, Andre Raffalovich, W.B. Yeats and Arthur Machen, wrote review articles on Ernest Dowson and George Moore, and had an unsuccessful dinner in Ronald Firbank’s rooms at Cambridge, and his novels abound with references to Pater, Wilde, and other writers cut from a Decadent cloth. Yet that process of translating Decadence from the urbane cosmopolitan centers of Europe to conservative Ireland was not to leave it intact. This paper will present Reid’s Ulster Decadence as a singular contribution to the tradition; Decadence become in Reid’s work riven with contradiction: ascetic and erotic, mystical and quotidian, Hellenic and Protestant, ephebophilic and innocent, transgressive and conservative. As the only Decadent in Ulster Reid’s negotiation between radical literature and traditional culture produced a marginal Decadence that challenges the hegemony of the cosmopolitan paradigms that have come to dominate contemporary studies of the fin de siècle.

Bio: Alex Murray teaches in the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast. His monograph Landscapes of Decadence: Literature and Place at the Fin de Siècle is forthcoming from Cambridge UP in Fall 2016. He has recent or forthcoming articles in MFS Modern Fiction StudiesJournal of Victorian Culture and Modernism/modernity. He is working on two projects: a study of the intersections between Decadence/aestheticism and conservatism, and on the influence of Decadence and aestheticism on American modernism.


Tina O’Toole (University of Limerick), ‘George Egerton’s Cosmopolitan Irishness’.

Nomadism is a driving force in the life and fiction of George Egerton [Chavelita Dunne (1859-1945)]. This is hardly surprising given that emigration is a central narrative in Irish life and literature from the mid-nineteenth century on, but Egerton’s investment in migrant narratives was a personal one. Hers was an army family; Egerton was born in Melbourne and spent her childhood in Dublin. Subsequently, all of the Dunnes emigrated; while her siblings were based in South Africa, Chile, Algiers, and Paris, she lived for extended periods in Norway, the USA, and London, as well as in rural Cork, reading and gathering influences along the way. As this paper will show, Egerton’s protagonists likewise emerge from a complex nexus of Irish, European, and global backgrounds, in narratives located beyond the familiar urban settings found in other decadent and “New Woman” literature. Her stories are interpellated with foreign objects like ponchos and kjelkes [hand-sleds], and she pointedly incorporates languages and dialect words from South America and Scandinavia. Thus, unlike other Irish writers of the period, Egerton’s diasporic space is not one that binds the emigrant to an expatriate community, fixed by ties of culture, class, religion, and a predefined relationship to the old country. Rather, her writings “transnationalize” Irishness by attending to the connections and potential incompatibilities between received forms of national identity in Ireland and throughout the diaspora. At a crucial juncture in fin de siècle Ireland, as the Literary Revival looked inwards, delving into pre-colonial history and reviving the Irish language, Egerton’s focus was outwards; her fiction created cross-national connections between migrants in New York, cultural double-agents in West Cork, and sexual dissidents in London. Her later writings, in particular, anticipate the hybrid national identities and unconventional migrant experience in the work of later Irish writers, such as James Joyce.


Matthew Potolsky (University of Utah), ‘A Question of Hungary: Michael Field and Revolutions of 1848’.

This essay explores the nexus of aestheticism and politics in Michael Field’s 1893 drama A Question of Memory.  The play tells the story of Ferencz Rényi, a hero of the Hungarian revolt against Austrian domination in 1848.  A schoolmaster who took up arms in a quest for national self-determination, Rényi was quickly captured by Austrian forces and thrown in prison.  His captors bring three women in Rényi’s life–his mother, his sister, and his lover–before the prisoner and threaten to kill them if Rényi does not reveal the location of the Hungarian resistance fighters. Rényi’s memory fails him, and the women are all killed, leaving Rényi a broken man.

The paper is part of my book-in-progress, which argues that aestheticism and decadence were deeply shaped by the events and (mostly distressing) aftermath of the 1848 revolutions.  Throughout the book, I consider the ways in which many familiar literary strategies in fin-de-siècle writing can be regarded as political gestures. In A Question of Memory, Michael Field reflect in particular on the political implications of silence and refusal. Epitomized by Jehane in William Morris’ 1858 poem ‘The Haystack in the Floods’, who refuses to save her lover’s life at the expense of her virtue, silence in aestheticist and decadent texts is a means by with the powerless bring about change in the world.

Field’s Hungary is an idealized space subtly dominated by the art, labor, and moral influence of women.  It is a mirror image of the male-dominated world of aestheticism and decadence, a fact reflected in the respective political work of men and women in the play.  Although Rényi might seem to be the hero of the nationalist struggle, it is in fact his mother and sister who ensure his silence, willingly sacrificing their lives in the name of Hungary.  The men in the play, by contrast, continually shunt responsibility onto others.  Rényi, in a sense, backs into heroism through his loss of memory, while his mother and sister, officially subordinate both to the Austrians and to the men of their village, actively serve the nationalist cause through silence and refusal.

Bio: Matthew Potolsky is Professor of English at the University of Utah. He is the author of Mimesis (Routledge 2006) and The Decadent Republic of Letters: Taste, Politics, and Cosmopolitan Community from Baudelaire to Beardsley (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), and is co-editor of Perennial Decay: On the Aesthetics and Politics of Decadence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).


Eveliina Pulkki (Jesus College, University of Oxford), ‘Aspirant Cosmpolitanism in Knut Hamsun’s Sult (1890).

Norway was often portrayed in auto-exotic terms during its nineteenth century nation-building project by towering ‘national’ authors – Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Jonas Lie and Alexander Kielland. In this paper I will read Sult (Hunger) by Knut Hamsun as a reaction against this emphasis on the particularity and locality of Norwegian literary production, which was paradoxically heralded by a cosmopolitan elite. I will argue that in Sult, Hamsun creates a fictitious cosmopolitan experience by anonymizing its Norwegian setting, purging it of national characteristics and reworking Christiania, now Oslo, into a generic European city, where Hamsun perverts the Baudelairean figure of the writer as a privileged urban flâneur into a homeless spectator to city life.

As the novel suggests a parallel between Norway and Finland, both of which were struggling to establish themselves politically but also in the world literary space, I will also draw on Hamsun’s correspondence with the Finnish author, playwright and feminist Maria Jotuni, shedding light on the ways in which the anxious self-presentation of an author and that of a nation coincide.

As opposed to privileging local and marginal experience as the largely Anglo-French post-colonial theories still often do, I will examine through my reading of Sult how it is often the periphery and the margins that are excessively dependent on cosmopolitan values and are therefore keen to represent and identify themselves in cosmopolitan terms. Reassessing what has been derogatorily referred to as ‘universalism that is profoundly provincial’, I will argue that Sult is a key Modernist text, one that like many of its kind came from a linguistic and cultural ‘periphery’ yet aspired to be universal through a manufactured cosmopolitan experience.

Bio: Eveliina Pulkki is a co-convenor of the Nordic Network at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, a Clarendon Scholar and a doctoral candidate in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.


Kathy Rees (Independent researcher),A Series of Spiritual Baedekers: the Heinemann International Library’.

Literature has long been instrumental in shaping the ways in which one nation views another.  Between 1890 and 1898, William Heinemann published a series of modern ‘masterpieces of European fiction’, translated into English.  The ‘Heinemann International Library’ provided English readers with the choice of novels by authors from eleven different countries: Bulgaria, Poland, France, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Italy.  The series editor, Edmund Gosse, who wrote an introduction to each volume, promoted the library as ‘a guide to the inner geography of Europe:  a series of spiritual Baedekers’.  The novels provide glimpses into the fin de siècle societies of Europe: familial tensions provoked by adultery, illegitimacy, and child abuse; the valorisation of the artificial over the natural; the tussle between the spiritual and the sensual; the growth of disillusionment and moral decline.   The notion of fate dominates many of the protagonists: man is a creature shaped by external factors such as environment and heredity, susceptible to the pressures of immediate circumstances.

Gosse promises readers the opportunity ‘to penetrate to the secrets of a nation’, and this notion of ‘secrets’ embedded within the texts informs my approach: I interrogate the literary allusions employed by various writers, mapping the inter-European relationships that they generate.  I will explore, for example, the references of the Dutch author, Louis Couperus, to Ibsen’s Ghosts; the use that the Norwegian writer, Bjornstjerne Bjornson makes of Dickens’ David Copperfield; and the allusions of the Italian writer, Matilde Serao, to Dumas’s The Lady of the Camelias. I examine how these literary allusions resonate within individual texts but also how they operate across cultural and national boundaries.

Bio: Kathy Rees completed her PhD (‘Reading Gosse’s Reading: A Study of Allusion in the work of Edmund Gosse’) at Anglia Ruskin University in 2014. She wrote the entry on Edmund Gosse for Oxford Bibliographies Online (2014) and has published articles about Gosse in Peer English (2015), in a special issue of Nineteenth Century Prose (2016), and in the forthcoming issue of Grave Notes.   She is now an independent researcher.


Emily Roy (Waddesdon Manor, The National Trust), ‘Léon Bakst’s Sleeping Princess: A Fairytale Synthesis’.

This paper examines the significance of Western European and Russian fairytale motifs in a suite of seven paintings on the Sleeping Beauty story by the Russian-Jewish émigré artist Léon Bakst (1866-1924). The paintings were commissioned in 1913 by James and Dorothy de Rothschild for the Dining Room of their London townhouse, the year after Bakst had settled in Paris after he was refused permanent residency in St. Petersburg because of his Jewish faith. Bakst himself chose the subject but, unlike his two other engagements with the theme, the sets and costumes for a shortened version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet by Anna Pavlova’s company in New York in 1916 and the Ballets Russes’ lavish London production in 1921, the Rothschild paintings do not evoke the 17th- century French context of Charles Perrault’s tale. Rather their eclectic imagery incorporates elements of the ‘Neo-National’ style developed by Bakst’s associates in the Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) group in Russia in the 1890s who established a visual canon of distinctly Russian folktales, in explicit opposition to the moralising tales of Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. The Russian revival of native tales, alongside folk art, drew inspiration from the construction of national myths in other countries, particularly in Scandinavia. This outward-looking nationalism chimes with the attempts of other Mir Iskusstva members to make parallels between Russian and European history, defining Russia as a ‘European culture’. This paper considers how the ‘Russianness’ of the paintings relates to the perception of Bakst’s national identity in Britain, and what this meant to artist and client. The paintings raise questions about Orientalism, ‘Russianness’ and ‘Jewishness’ that can be situated within the discourse surrounding fairytales in Russia at the end of the 19th century and their perception in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century.

Bio: Emily Roy is a Curator at Waddesdon Manor (The National Trust, Rothschild Collections) where she has worked since 2010. She did her BA in History of Art at Oxford University and her MA in Russian Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL. In 2015 she was awarded a Likhachev Foundation Cultural Fellowship, St. Petersburg, to research Léon Bakst’s fascination with the Sleeping Beauty motif in the context of fairy-tales and ballet at the fin de siècle.


Ashley Rye-Kopec (University of Delaware), ‘Alterity and Similarity: Venice in Fin-de-Siècle British Culture’.

In 1892, Henry James described Venice as ‘the most beautiful of tombs’ and ‘a vast mausoleum with a turnstile at its door’. Other fin-de-siѐcle cultural figures — including Maurice Barrѐs, Gabriele D’Annunzio, and Vernon Lee – contributed to the island’s association with decadence, ruin, sexual excess, and death. Yet at the same time that James was describing Venice’s funereal qualities, the spectacle producer Imre Kiralfy was bringing Venice to life in London. Kiralfy’s event, entled Venice in London, opened at the Olympia exhibition center on Boxing Day in 1891. It included gondola rides, an exhibition of Venetian artwork, replicas of Venice’s canals and bridges, and a working glass factory, in addition to a grand theatricalproduction. The spectacle was wildly successful and remained open for over a year.

My paper analyzes Venice’s role in fin-de-siѐcle British culture in light of these two contrasting atittudes toward the Italian city. I argue that Venice occupied a unique position as both like and unlike Britain. As island nations and maritime powers, Venice and England historically had much in common. However, after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, the two nations experienced diverse fortunes. By examining the Venice in London exhibition and Venice’s appearance in the popular culture of fin-de-siиcle Britain, I will assess how Venice became a vehicle for contrasting viewpoints about labor, empire, and the cosmopolitan city, both in London and beyond.

Bio: Ashley Rye-Kopec is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Delaware. Her research examines the role of Venice in British and American visual culture. Ashley’s dissertation, ‘No One A Stranger: Anglo-American Representations of Venetian Labor’, considers how visual depictions of Venetian workers could be used to shape attitudes concerning labor and empire in the United States and Britain.

 


Michael Shaw (University of Glasgow), ‘Celtic Japonisme: John Duncan’s Symbolist Paintings’.

In recent years, cultural histories have recognised that japonisme – the use of traditional Japanese culture in Western art, literature and design – was not performed homogenously across the British Isles.  Joseph Lennon has noted that the profound impact Japanese culture, and ‘the orient’ more widely, had on W. B. Yeats was informed by his Celtic Revivalism.  However, critics have overlooked the fact that this link between the Celtic Revival and japonisme found its strongest voice originally in Scotland.

In this paper. I argue that the Celtic Revival in Scotland enthusiastically embraced traditional Japanese culture, and it did so as a counter-hegemonic gesture: by building international cultural friendships with other traditional cultures, Scottish Celtic Revivalists hoped to resist the systematic marginalisation of Celtic culture that was widespread in the Victorian period.  They showed that traditional Celtic culture was not hostile to modernity or internationalism, as it was often labeled.

I will begin this paper by demonstrating the very close industrial relations that were built between Scotland and Japan in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This connection bred a particular enthusiasm for Japanese culture amongst Scottish writers and artists, including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald, Robert Louis Stevenson and the Glasgow Boys.  After briefly demonstrating this context, I will then focus on two paintings by John Duncan (The Glaive of Light, 1897 and St Bride, 1913), which, like the art of other Celtic Revivalists, fuses many tropes of Japanese and Celtic culture.  I will show that Duncan’s paintings, along with Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art building (1896), are the clearest embodiments of Scottish Celtic Revivalists’ attempt to reclaim Celticism from marginalisation, via japonisme.

Bio: Michael Shaw is a research assistant based at the University of Glasgow, working on a cross-institutional project funded by the Carnegie Trust: ‘The People’s Voice: Scottish political poetry, song and the franchise, 1832-1914’.  His own research interest is Scotland’s fin de siècle, with a particular focus on the ways that various facets of decadent culture (japonisme, neo-paganism, occultism and neo-Catholicism) supported the assertion of Scottish cultural identity around the 1890s.  He is currently in the process of adapting his PhD thesis, which won the 2015 Ross Roy medal, into a monograph.


Shannon R. Smith (Queen’s University) and Ann M. Hale (University of Greenwich), ‘“Let us glance at our…Gazetteer”: Imaginative and Corporate Geographies of the Strand Magazine’.

Perhaps best known for its association with detective fiction and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, the Strand Magazine (1891-1950) is a fin de siècle print culture object that scholars have long understood to be emblematic of the modern metropolis at the heart of empire. Its imaginative content—both fiction and nonfiction—provides readers with a sprawling, if stereotypical, mass culture Orientalist geography that reinforces an East/West binary. It is both productive of, and a product of, late nineteenth-century British cultural imperialism.

This first phase of a larger project seeks to disrupt this view of the Strand by recovering forgotten corporate geographies—of distribution, of investment, of production—and mapping the Strand’s 1891 shareholder and distribution networks against a gazetteer of locations mentioned in the magazine’s popular imaginative content. This digital mapping will illuminate the tension between the Orientalist geographies in the magazine and the publication’s ownership, which incorporates surprisingly diffuse geographies outside of the modern city. By recovering and visualising gender, class, and employment demographics related to the corporate history of the Strand, we complicate the magazine’s status as a strong middle-class voice of imperialism at the close of the nineteenth century.

Our initial mapping project is an important digital methodology that contributes vital spatial insight to a larger endeavor to produce a multidimensional critical history of the Strand that will account for its status as a key nineteenth-century print culture object, address its technologies and processes of production, and illuminate its ongoing existence as an object of twenty-first-century remediation.

Bio: Shannon R. Smith is Assistant Professor of English Literature at the Bader International Study Centre (UK), Queen’s University (Canada). From 2013-2015 she also served as the Director of the BISC’s Field School in the Digital Humanities. Her current research is concerned with histories of nineteenth- and twentieth-century communication and print production technologies, the Internet and World Wide Web, and the intersection between Digital Humanities ‘maker culture’ and the participatory art movement. She is currently co-editing special issues of Victorian Periodicals Review (2016) and Digital Humanities Quarterly (2016). She has also published articles on literary theory, and Victorian popular theatre, sport, and urban spaces.

Bio: Ann M. Hale is a PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich. Her research focuses on the relationship between nineteenth-century legal periodicals and professional identity. She was awarded the 2014 Rosemary VanArsdel Prize for the best graduate student essay investigating Victorian periodicals and newspapers. The prize-winning essay, “W.T. Stead and Participatory Reader Networks,” appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Victorian Periodicals Review. Hale holds an M.A. in English literature from the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and a member of the State of Minnesota Bar.


Jane Stafford (Victoria University of Wellington), ‘Embodied Ecstasy: Arthur Symons, Sarojini Nadu and the Fin-de-Siècle Lyric’.

Arthur Symons encountered Sarojini Naidu at one of Edmund Gosse’s Sunday afternoon At Homes in 1890s. She had, he said, a face ‘like awakening soul’, ‘her eyes were like deep pools’, ‘she spoke little, and in a low voice, like gentle music; and she seemed, wherever she was, to be alone’. Naidu, for her part, described Symons as ‘the marvellous boy, with his passionate nature and fiery eyes’. ‘Our nerves often quivered in unison’ declared Symons.

It was a relation marked on both sides by conscious self-fashioning and theatrical self-presentation, both personal and literary. Their simultaneously composed poems, Symons’ ‘Javanese Dancers’ and Naidu’s ‘Indian Dancers’, play with fin de siècle tropes of physicality, sensuality, and the expression of intensity, words being, as Symons’ puts it, ‘mere compromises, mere indications’.

Yet despite his axiom that the poet should ‘evade the old bondage of rhetoric, the old bondage of exteriority’, Symons’ lyric mode struggles unsuccessfully to break free of the literary stereotypes of the empire of the exotic, while Naidu’s letters written after her return to Hyderabad in 1898 rewrite the landscape of her actual experience there in terms of what she perceives as the orientalist expectations of her English reader.

This paper uses the relationship between the two poets to examine the association between fin de siècle lyric sensibility and empire – empire as source, as imaginative mode, as imaginary space, as pre-existing literary convention – and the manner the intensely registered interiority of the fin de siècle lyric might find difficulty relating to any external correlative, let alone the potentially prosaic and heavily freighted one of India and empire.


Maria Taroutina (Yale-NUS College), ‘Between East and West: Reconsidering Michael Vrubel’s “Nativist” Aesthetics.

Although relatively unknown in the western context, Mikhail Vrubel has been celebrated by Russian and Soviet art historians as ‘the father of the future’ and ‘an artist ahead of his time’.[14] Ironically, at the turn of the century the reverse was true with Vrubel being largely rejected by his countrymen, but embraced abroad, ultimately receiving a gold medal at the Paris International Exhibition of 1900. Accordingly, the present paper will examine the evolution in the interpretation of Vrubel’s oeuvre as either Eastern or Western, national or cosmopolitan, traditional or vanguard, all the while questioning these categories as stable signifiers in themselves. Although Vrubel has been principally viewed as an exponent of Russian Symbolism and the Neo-Russian style associated with the Abramtsevo and Talashkino artistic colonies, he was an avid traveller who had visited Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Turkey, where he absorbed a large variety of different artistic sources such as Jugendstil, medieval Gothic and Renaissance ceramics, Japanese and Chinese porcelain, Persian textiles and Egyptian and Assyrian sculpture. This paper thus aims to challenge the dominant ‘nativist’ reading of Vrubel’s oeuvre in favour of a much more nuanced and expansive analysis of his art, which actively synthesized a rich plurality of aesthetic motifs and concepts into a distinct and innovative modernist visual syntax – one that came to influence several generations of avant-garde artists, including Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin and Naum Gabo, among others.


Matthew Brinton Tildesley (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies), ‘Geographies of the Soul: Walter, Oscar and the Buddha (And the meaning of life)’.

When discussing ‘Orientalism’ in relation to fin-de-siècle British literature, there is one aspect of Asian culture which is often overlooked: Buddhism. Indeed when reading much of the literary output of the 1880s-90s, the Buddhist religion is rarely mentioned, and appears to have had little direct influence upon writers such as Oscar Wilde and his circle. However, when used as a critical tool, many central tenets of Buddhist philosophy find themselves echoed in Aesthetico-Decadent literature, to the point where influence could almost give way to direct inspiration.

The proposed paper will begin by examining the teachings of Buddhist sages such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and the British Buddhist philosopher David Brazier. In particular, it will examine ideas relating to happiness, and the role that this plays in the meaning of life within the Buddhist tradition. The mechanics of achieving happiness will then be compared between Buddhism and Walter Pater’s incendiary ‘Conclusion’ to The Renaissance. After illuminating the connections between Buddha and Pater, The Renaissance’s most famous literary progeny, The Picture of Dorian Gray may be viewed in a very different light indeed. Far from echoing Pater’s philosophy, Wilde’s Lord Henry can be seen to be promoting the precise opposite of Pater’s ‘Conclusion’, despite the many, ostensible similarities. Dorian Gray then becomes a negative example of the Buddhist-Paterian ideal, whereas other writings of Wilde will be shown as positives. Further parallels with Buddhist notions of enlightenment will be explored in the writings of John Gray, linking Catholic ‘ecstasy’ with Buddhist ideas of transcendence. The final aspect of this paper will explore the notion that these interconnections are not in fact a matter of influence, but signal an ultimate, Universal Truth which these, and indeed other, writers have struck upon in their search for the very meaning of life itself.

Bio: Dr Matthew Brinton Tildesley is an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea. His main field of research is periodical culture of the 1880s and 1890s, Aestheticism, Decadence and Modernism. He has published various articles on authors such as Oscar Wilde, Ernest Dowson, Joseph Conrad, Emile Zola and Virginia Woolf, and in particular his work on The Savoy magazine has enjoyed worldwide success online. Dr Tildesley contributed 19 entries to the British Library’s Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism, and is co-editor of The Decadent Short Story: An Annotated Anthology published by Edinburgh University Press. He has contributed a chapter on Decadent periodicals to the forthcoming Legenda publication, Decadence and the Senses (2016), and his current, on-going research is into connections between classic literature and Buddhist philosophy.


Alicja Urbanik (University of Warsaw), ‘Władysław Reymont and Vampire – a Curious Retelling of Victorian Gothic by a Polish Nobel Prize in Literature Winner.

Władysław Reymont is a figure whose biography embodies most of the 19th century tropes of modernity mixed with elements of unique peculiarity. In the course of his life, he was a travelling spiritual medium, a reporter, gateman at railway crossing and a victim in a crash of a newly established Warsaw-Vienna Railway. While resting at home as a beneficiary of a first system of compensations for railway crash victims, he was able to write Chłopi (The Peasants), a novel about Polish peasant culture that earned him a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1924. In 1911, he wrote a book that connected him with yet another trope of late 19th century culture – Victorian Gothic. Novel Vampire is a story of a young Polish immigrant in London, who tries to achieve recognition as a poet under the pen name Walter Brown. He is soon drawn into a peculiar chain of events by a demonic, vampiric femme fatale, a Hindu medium and his old lover who comes to London to torment him.

The novel is usually overlooked the critics of Reymont’s literary output, allegedly because of its low artistic value. In the presentation I will analyze the tropes present in the novel to show a unique mix of Reymont’s clear fascination with Victorian Gothic and his individual Polish perspective. The character of Zenon, living in London under an English name and encountering the bizarre characters of exotic occult provenance can be interpreted as a symbol of an Eastern European cultural tradition, at the same time fascinated and terrified by the overwhelming West. I will also analyze the novel as a direct result of Reymont’s biography, which in itself is a great example of dialectic between the international and local and an attempt to build an individual voice in the increasingly cosmopolitan culture of fin-de-siècle.

Bio: Alicja Urbanik is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw, Poland. Her main field of interest are the manifestations of 19th-century modernity. She is particularly interested in the influence of 19th-century inventions on culture and in the 19th-century Polish culture in the context of Western Europe, particularly Victorian culture.


Ryan Weberling (Boston University), ‘Rise and Fall of a Vera Wilde Aesthete”: Dorian Gray in fin-de-siècle Mississippi.

In ‘An Image of Africa’, Chinua Achebe grounds his critique of Joseph Conrad’s primitivism in a striking analogy: ‘Africa is to Europe as the picture is to Dorian Gray’. Scholars have begun to recognize the aptness of Achebe’s claim, discussing the centrality of race and empire in Wilde’s novel and tracing his work’s transmission to the colonies through queer figures such as Henry Jekyll in Jamaica (who introduced Claude McKay to Wilde) and J. M. Stuart-Young in Nigeria (who promoted and in strange ways embodied Wilde for Achebe’s generation). This paper uses an unlikely question to open a transatlantic genealogy prior to these recuperations: What if the book that famously ‘poisoned’ Dorian Gray was not a decadent French novel but Jefferson Davis’s The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881), the two-volume tome that Wilde described as a ‘masterpiece’ during his 1882 U.S. lecture tour?

A flood of recent biographies and essays identify Wilde’s transcontinental North American tour as the spectacle that launched his career and disseminated his image internationally. However, this scholarship rarely considers the tour’s influence on his later writing or its intersection with prominent statements on racial inequality by Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois. During the tour, Wilde both encountered firsthand the ‘color line’ (as Douglass termed it a few months before Wilde’s arrival) and spent the night with Jefferson Davis in Biloxi, Mississippi. Describing the man to others as a ‘fascinating’ failure, he left a photograph of himself inscribed ‘To Jefferson Davis, in all loyal admiration’. I place this Wildean self-portrait alongside the racial caricatures of aestheticism that accompanied his integration into regional, national, and international print culture, treating this gallery of decadence as part of the backdrop for Dorian Gray’s ‘myriad’ identities. Recovering this transatlantic genealogy allows us to understand the novel’s (and Wilde’s) multi-faceted relationship to the emerging global color line.

Bio: Ryan Weberling is a doctoral candidate in the English department at Boston University, where he is also completing a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His dissertation explores how modernist writers from Oscar Wilde to Salman Rushdie participated in the emergence of federalism as a mode of governance and structure of feeling.


Linda Gertner Zatlin (Morehouse College)‘Aubrey Beardsley: Forgotten Geographies of the Self’.

Bio: Linda Gertner Zatlin is professor of English at Morehouse College, Atlanta. Her recent publication is Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné (London: Yale University Press, 2016), the first book to bring together the recorded works of the English artist Aubrey Beardsley. With Dr Jane Desmarais  (Goldsmiths, University of London), Professor Zatlin is now co-editing Aubrey Beardsley’s letters, interpolating 118 unknown and unpublished letters that she had found over the years. Professor Zatlin’s research centers on the art and literature of the 1890s, notably the work of Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde, and also includes the Victorian novel, Pre-Raphaelite art, and Japanese art. The co-founder of the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, an interdisciplinary scholarly organization which she currently serves as a member of the Senior Advisory Council, she is on the editorial board of Nineteenth-Century Studies and has been Sotheby’s Beardsley Consultant since 1993. Twice the winner of the United Negro College Fund-Henry McBay Research Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and the Southern Fellowships Funds Fellowship, as well as numerous other research grants, Professor Zatlin was awarded the Historians of British Art Best Book Award for 1997, and in 2004, the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association’s inaugural President’s Award for Professional Achievement. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, faculty mentor for the Ford Foundation and the Dana Foundation Scholars Programs, Professor Zatlin is keenly interested in training students to do primary research.


[1] James Belich, Making People: A History of the New Zealanders: From Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century (Auckland: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 278.

[2] Jessie Mackay, The Spirit of the Rangatira and Other Ballads (Melbourne: George Robertson and Company, 1889), p. v.

[3] Megan Smitley, “‘Inebriates,’ Heathens,’ Templars and Suffragists: Scotland and Imperial Feminism c. 1870–1914,” Women’s History Review 11:3 (2007), pp. 455–480; Eilidh Macrae, “The Scottish Cyclist and the New Woman: Representations of Female Cyclists in Scotland, 1890–1914,” Journal of Scottish Historical Studies 35.1(2015), pp. 70–91.

[4] Farrer, My Rock-Garden (London, 1908), 2.

[5] Reginald Farrer, Among the Hills: A Book of Joy in High Places (London, 1911), 33.

[6] Farrer, My Rock-Garden, 132.

[7] Farrer, Among the Hills, 33.

[8] Farrer, Reginald, In a Yorkshire Garden (London, 1909), 65.

[9] Curtis Marez, ‘The Other Addict: Reflections on Colonialism and Oscar Wilde’s Opium Smoke Screen’, ELH

64.1 (1997), pp. 257-287.

[10] Wilde in the Birmingham Daily Post, Friday, March 14, 1884 quoted in Geoff Dibb, Oscar Wilde – A Vagabond with a Mission: The Story of Oscar Wilde’s Lecture Tours of Britain and Ireland (London: The Oscar Wilde Society, 2013), p. 108.

[11] ‘If we except China and Japan, I do believe that natives of every country of the world will be met with in the streets of Cairo.’ Wilde, W.R., M.R.I.A Narrative of a voyage to Madeira, and along the shores of the Mediterranean, including a visit to Algiers, Egypt, Palestine, Tyre, Rhodes, Telmessus, Cyprus, and Greece. With observations on the present state and prospects of Egypt and Palestine and on the climate, natural history, antiquities, etc. of the countries visited; in two Volumes (Dublin: William Curry, Jun. and Company/ Longman Orme, Browne and Co.London, 1840), p. 301.

[12] Ricketts also wrote about Egyptian art in four articles that appeared in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology in 1917 and 1918.

[13] The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at University College London (UCL) was created in 1892 through the bequest of Amelia Edwards (1831-1892). The collection grew to international stature thanks to the first Edwards Professor, William Flinders Petrie (1853-1942). Wilde, still in prison in 1897 requested Ross to obtain works by ‘Flinders Petrie on Egypt [Egyptian Decorative Art, 1895]. Any good book on Ancient Egypt.’ in Merlin Holland & Rupert Hart-Davies, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde (London: Fourth Estate, 2000), p. 792.

[14] Nikolai Tarabukin, Vrubel ( Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1974), p. 17; Vsevolod Dmitriev, “Zaveti Vrubelia,” Apollon, No. 5, (May 1913): 18.