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Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle

By Talia Schaffer

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Oct 31, 2006


This unprecedented comprehensive anthology of short canonical readings on important topics in fin-de-siècle literature offers the most prominent examples of poetry, fiction, prose, and drama for thorough in-depth study.  This anticipated collection features non-canonical stories, poems, and articles alongside well-known works by fin-de-siècle authors.  By bringing to the forefront the definition and the significance of the fin-de-siècle movement, this anthology involves the reader in a continual scholarly endeavor.  Organized into two thematic units, “Aestheticism” and “The New Women,” this text includes a range of authors:  from Wilde and Kipling to Housman and Pater.  Annotations and unit introductions supply brief, informative explanations to aid comprehension.

Table of Contents

Contents are Alphabetical by Author and Title


Table of Dates





The Art of Living: Introduction to Aestheticism

Arguing for Art: Aesthetic Prose


Walter Pater

            from Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873)  

James McNeil Whistler

            from “Mr. Whistler’s Ten O’Clock” (1888)  

Oscar Wilde

            “The Decay of Lying” (1888)  

Oscar Wilde

            “Preface” to The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)  

Vernon Lee

            from Baldwin (1886)  

Alice Meynell

            “The Colour of Life” (1896)  

Max Beerbohm

            “A Defence of Cosmetics” and “A Letter to the Editor” (1894)  

Arthur Symons

            “The Decadent Movement in Literature” (1893)  

Incantatory Art: Aesthetic Poems  

Ernest Dowson

            “Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae” (1891)  

Lionel Johnson

            “The Destroyer of a Soul” (1892)  

            “A Decadent’s Lyric” (1897)  

Arthur Symons

            “Renee” (1895)  

            “White Heliotrope” (1895)  

            “Morbidezza” (1892)  

            “Maquillage” (1892)  

Lord Alfred Douglas

            “Two Loves” (1894)  

W. B. Yeats

            “To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time” (1893)  

            “When You are Old” (1893)  

            “To Ireland in the Coming Times” (1893)  

            “The Lover Tells of the Rose in His Heart” (1899)  

            “He Remembers Forgotten Beauty” (1899)  

            “The Secret Rose” (1899)  

            “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” (1899)  

Oscar Wilde

            “The Sphinx” (1894)  

            “The Harlot’s House” (1885, 1908)  

            “Impression du Matin” (1877, 1881)  

            “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” (1898)  

Michael Field

            “Come, Gorgo, put the rug in place” (1889)  

            “I Love You With My Life” (1908)  

            “The Mummy Invokes his Soul” (1908)  

            “Unbosoming” (1893)  

            “La Gioconda” (1892)  

            “A Pen-Drawing of Leda” (1892)  

Amy Levy

            “To Vernon Lee” (1889)  

            “Xantippe” (1881)  1

Alice Meynell

            “Renouncement (1882)  1

            “Cradle-Song at Twilight” (1895)  1

            “Why Wilt Thou Chide” (1896)  1

            “Maternity” (1913)  1

            “Easter Night” (1915)  1

Graham R. Tomson

            “Aubade” (1891)  

            “Ballad of the Bird-Bride” (1889)  

Olive Custance

            “Doubts” (1897)  1

            “The White Witch” (1902)  1

The Art of Conversation: Aesthetic Fiction and Drama  1

W. S. Gilbert

            “If You’re Anxious for to Shine” (1881)  1

Max Beerbohm

            “Enoch Soames” (1914)  1

Oscar Wilde

            The Importance of Being Earnest (1894, performed 1895, 1899)  1

Una Ashworth Taylor

            “Seed of the Sun” (1896)  

            “The Truce of God” (1896)  


The New Women: Introduction  

The New Woman in the Popular Press  


Sarah Grand

            “The New Aspect of the Woman Question” (1894)  

Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée)

            “The New Woman” (1894)  

B. A. Crackanthorpe

            “The Revolt of the Daughters” (1894)  

Kathleen Cuffe

            “A Reply from the Daughters” (1894)  2

A. G. P. Sykes

            “The Evolution of the Sex” (1895)  

Mona Caird

            “Does Marriage Hinder a Woman’s Self-Development?” (1899)  2

Alice Meynell

            “A Woman in Grey” (1896)  2

New Women Poetry  2

May Kendall

            “Woman’s Future” (1887)  

Constance Naden

            “The New Orthodoxy” (1887)  

Dora Sigerson Shorter

            “Cecilia’s Way” (1903)  

E. Nesbit

            “Accession” (1905)  2

Dollie Radford

            “From Our Emancipated Aunt in Town” (1895)  2

Amy Levy

            “Captivity” (1889)  2

Graham R. Tomson

            “On the Road” (1889)  2

Matilde Blind

            “Prelude: Wings” (1889)  

New Women Fiction  

George Egerton

            “A Cross Line” (1893)  

Ella D’Arcy

            “The Pleasure-Pilgrim” (1895)  

Mabel E. Wotton

            “The Fifth Edition” (1896)  



Body Fears: Degeneracy and Sexology  


Francis Galton

            from Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (1883)  

Max Nordau

            from Degeneration (1895)  

Janet E. Hogarth

            from “Literary Degenerates” (1895)  

George Bernard Shaw

            from The Sanity of Art (1895, 1908)  

Havelock Ellis

            from Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1901)  

Edward Carpenter

            from Homogenic Love (1894)  

Political Solutions: Philanthropy, Sociology, Socialism  

William Morris

            “Useful Work versus Useless Toil” (1884)  

Oscar Wilde

            from “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” (1891)  

George Bernard Shaw

            from “The Basis of Socialism” (1889)  

Charles Booth

            from Life and Labour of the People in London (1889)  

W. T. Stead

            from “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon” (1885)  

Writing the City, Writing the Country  

John Davidson

            “Good-Friday” (1893)  

Arthur Symons

            “In Bohemia” (1896)  

            “Prologue: In the Stalls” (18--)  

            “To a Dancer” (18--)  

            “Prologue: Before the Curtain” (18--)  

A. E. Housman

            “Loveliest of Trees” (18--)  

            “When I Was One-and-Twenty” (18--)  

            “To an Athlete Dying Young” (18--)  

            “On Wenlock Edge” (1896)  

Thomas Hardy

            “Wessex Heights” (1898)  

            “The Darkling Thrush” (1898)

Music Hall Songs: Gus Elen

            “If it Wasn’t for the ’Ouses in Between” (1899)  

Mental Hopes: Psychology, Parapsychology, Fantasy  

William James

            from Principles of Psychology (1890)  

Sigmund Freud

            from “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” (“Dora”) (1905)  

Frederic W. H. Myers

            from Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death (1903)  

Henry James

            “The Beast in the Jungle” (1893)  



Writing Empire  


James Anthony Froude

            from The English in the West Indies (1888)  

J. J. Thomas

            from Froudacity (1889)  

Henry Newbolt

            “Vitaï Lampada” (1897)  

Rudyard Kipling

            “The White Man’s Burden” (1899)  

Henry Labouchère

            “The Brown Man’s Burden” (1899)  

The Scramble for Africa  

Mary Kingsley

            from Travels in West Africa (1897)  

David Lloyd George

            “South African War–Mortality in Camps of Detention” (1901)  

The Eastern Empire: India  

Rudyard Kipling

            “Gunga Din” (1899)  

Rudyard Kipling

            “Without Benefit of Clergy” (1891)  

Alice Perrin

            “Mary Jones” (1912)  

Arthur Conan Doyle

            “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (1892)  

Laurence Hope

            “Kashmiri Song” (1901)  

Toru Dutt

            “Jogadby Uma” (1882)  

Celts and Colonialism: Ireland  

W. B. Yeats

            from “The Celtic Twilight” (1893)  

Katherine Tynan

            “The Children of Lir” (1891)  

J. M. Synge

            Riders to the Sea (1904)  




Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle

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