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); L. G. Zatlin, Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné (2 vol., 2016); his letters, ed. by J. L. Duncan and W. G. Good (1970); biography by M. Sturgis (1999); study by B. Reade (1967).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Aubrey Beardsley: Selected full-text books and articles

A Study in Yellow: The Yellow Book and Its Contributors By Katherine Lyon Mix University of Kansas Press, 1960
The Adventures of an Illustrator: Mostly in Following His Authors in America & Europe By Joseph M. Pennell Little, Brown, and Company, 1925
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 213
Art Nouveau By Robert Schmutzler Harry N. Abrams, 1962
The Incomparable Max By Max Beerbohm Dodd Mead, 1962
Oscar Wilde and the Poetics of Ambiguity By 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 By Cavendish, Richard History Today, Vol. 48, No. 3, March 1998
British Poetry of the Eighteen-Nineties By Donald Davidson Doubleday, Doran, 1937
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 87
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Decadence and the 1890s By Ian Fletcher Holmes & Meier, 1980
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 192
Decadent Style By John R. Reed Ohio University Press, 1985
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Aubrey Beardsley begins on p. 156
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