The Beardsley Period: An Essay in Perspective

The Beardsley Period: An Essay in Perspective

The Beardsley Period: An Essay in Perspective

The Beardsley Period: An Essay in Perspective

Excerpt

Already a body of literature has begun to grow around the personalities and the work of the little group of men who with their followers have become known to us collectively as the nineties. Admittedly they had their due share of talent, wit, originality. Admittedly they were the joint or collective expression of a common tendency or mood which, partly by an accident to be considered at our leisure, has inveigled the attention of foreigners, so that there is perhaps no country in Europe which is now unfamiliar with their best work or unimpressed by the achievement of their leaders. For this interest and curiosity, it may be observed, it is difficult to find a parallel. Since the days of Byron, and the German interest in Carlyle, English literature has somehow failed to arrest the excited attention of French, German, Italian and Russian readers to the same extent as some of the work of the nineties has arrested it. The effect is the more puzzling to ourselves because, however much at one period of our individual lives we may have felt their fascination, a maturer judgment has grown impatient at the manner, the tone, the extravagance in which the movement of set . . .

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