Aubrey Beardsley

Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (ô´brē, bĬrdz´lē), 1872–98, English illustrator and writer, b. Brighton. Beardsley exemplifies the aesthetic movement in English art of the 1890s (see decadents). In his short working span of only six years, he developed a superbly artificial and graphic manner, expressed in flat, linear, black-and-white designs. His works were by turns erotic and cruel in emphasis. The art editor of the famous Yellow Book quarterly (1894–96), Beardsley also edited and contributed some of his best work to Leonard Smithers's periodical, The Savoy, and illustrated many books including Wilde's Salomé (1894), Pope's Rape of the Lock (1896), Aristophanes' Lysistrata (privately pub., 1896), and Jonson's Volpone (1898). His fiction, distinguished by an elaborate and erudite prose style, was collected and published in 1904 as Under the Hill. Criticized for the erotic character of his work and condemned for his association with Oscar Wilde, Beardsley fell from public favor. Ravaged by tuberculosis, he died at the age of 25.

See his Early Works (1899, repr. 1967) and Later Works (1901, repr. 1967); biography by M. Sturgis (1999); his letters, ed. by J. L. Duncan and W. G. Good (1970); study by B. Reade (1967).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Beardsley Period: An Essay in Perspective
Osbert Burdett.
John Lane, 1925
A Study in Yellow: The Yellow Book and Its Contributors
Katherine Lyon Mix.
University of Kansas Press, 1960
The Adventures of An Illustrator: Mostly in Following His Authors in America & Europe
Joseph M. Pennell.
Little, Brown, and Company, 1925
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 213
Oscar Wilde and the Poetics of Ambiguity
Michael Patrick Gillespie.
University Press of Florida, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Salome of Wilde and Beardsley Multiple Voices, Multiple Texts"
Death of Aubrey Beardsley
Cavendish, Richard.
History Today, Vol. 48, No. 3, March 1998
Art Nouveau
Robert Schmutzler.
Harry N. Abrams, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "The Japanese Style from Rossetti to Beardsley" begins on p. 85
British Poetry of the Eighteen-Nineties
Donald Davidson.
Doubleday, Doran, 1937
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 87
Decadence and the 1890s
Ian Fletcher.
Holmes & Meier, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 192
Decadent Style
John R. Reed.
Ohio University Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 156
Figures of Transition: A Study of British Literature at the End of the Nineteenth Century
Granville Hicks.
Macmillan, 1939
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 242
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