Reconnecting Aestheticism and Modernism.

Continuities, Revisions, Speculations

Edited by Bénédicte Coste, Catherine Delyfer, Christine Reynier

© 2017 – Routledge

has just been published


Charting the period that extends from the 1860s to the 1940s, this volume offers fresh perspectives on Aestheticism and Modernism. By acknowledging that both movements had a passion for the ‘new’, it goes beyond the alleged divide between Modernism and its predecessors. Rather than reading the modernist credo, ‘Make it New!’, as a desire to break away from the past, the authors of this book suggest reading it as a continuation and a reappropriation of the spirit of the ‘New’ that characterizes Aestheticism. Basing their arguments on recent reassessments of Aestheticism and Modernism and their articulation, contributors take up the challenge of interrogating the connections, continuities, and intersections between the two movements, thus revealing the working processes of cultural and aesthetic change so as to reassess the value of the new for each. Attending to well-known writers such as Waugh, Woolf, Richardson, Eliot, Pound, Ford, Symons, Wilde, and Hopkins, as well as to hitherto neglected figures such as Lucas Malet, L.S. Gibbon, Leonard Woolf, or George Egerton, they revise assumptions about Aestheticism and Modernism and their very definitions. This collection brings together international scholars specializing in Aestheticism or Modernism who push their analyses beyond their strict period of expertise and take both movements into account through exciting approaches that borrow from aesthetics, philosophy, or economics. The volume proposes a corrective to the traditional narratives of the history of Aestheticism and Modernism, revitalizing definitions of these movements and revealing new directions in aestheticist and modernist studies.




Bénédicte Coste, Catherine Delyfer and Christine Reynier


Connecting Aestheticism and Modernism

  1. The New Woman Flâneuse or Streetwalker? George Egerton’s Urban Aestheticism

Tina O’Toole

  1. Re-crediting Arthur Symons, Decadent-Modernist Literary Ghost

Elisa Bizzotto

3. Modernists as Decadents:

Excess and Waste in G. M. Hopkins, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Others

Rainer Emig

  1. From Periphery to Centre:

The Female Writer in Walter Pater and Virginia Woolf

Lene Østermark-Johansen

  1. Literary Cosmopolitans and Agents of Mediation:

Oscar Wilde and Fin-de-siècle Viennese Artistic Networks

Sandra Mayer


Revising Assumptions about Aestheticism and Modernism

  1. Wet Aesthetics: Immersion versus the ‘perfect imbecility’ of the Stream in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage

Rebecca Bowler and Scott McCracken


  1. Artist Stories of the 1890s: Life, Art, and Sacrifice

Elke D’hoker

  1. Aestheticism and Utilitarianism. A Victorian Debate and its Critical Legacy

Emmanuelle De Champs

  1. ‘Dangerous thoughts in Bloomsbury’:

Ethical Aestheticism and Imperial Fictions

Christine Froula


Speculative Orientations in Aestheticism and Modernism

  1. Speculative Modernism

Stephen Ross

  1. The Modernist Trajectory of Economics

Mary Poovey

  1. Speculating on Art in Fin-de-siècle Fiction

Catherine Delyfer

  1. Bogus Modernism:

Impersonation, Deception and Trust in Ford Madox Ford and Evelyn Waugh

Rob Hawkes

  1. Ownership and Interpretation: on Ezra Pound’s Deluxe First Editions

Michael Kindellan



The contributors