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Aubrey Beardsley

(1872—1898) illustrator

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illustrator and writer, notorious in the 1890s as the outstanding artist of fin‐de‐siIcle decadence. His disturbingly erotic drawings develop rapidly from the murky sensuality of Pre‐Raphaelite medievalism to rococo wit and grace. Beardsley's most important illustrations are for Wilde's Salome (1894), Pope's The Rape of the Lock (1896), the Lysistrata of Aristophanes (1896), and Jonson's Volpone (1898). He was art editor of the Yellow Book in 1894; the Wilde scandal led to his dismissal in 1895; he then became art editor to the Savoy. Beardsley's most significant achievement as a writer is The Story of Venus and Tannhauser, a charmingly rococo and highly cultivated erotic romance. An expurgated version entitled Under the Hill was published in the Savoy; an unexpurgated edition was privately printed in 1907; it contains a cruel caricature of Wilde as ‘Priapusa, the fat manicure and fardeuse’.

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