A journal of turn-of-the-century theatre

Issue 1 - Summer 2010

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Book Reviews



The Art of Theatre: Word, Image and Performance in Nineteenth-Century France and Belgium
19th-20th of November 2010, Queen's University, Belfast.

Guest speakers: Professor Patrick McGuinness, St. Anne's College, Oxford Professor Lawrence Senelick, Tufts University, Massachusetts

This conference will explore a rich field of interdisciplinary research: the relationship between art, literature and the stage in France and Belgium from 1830-1910. The rise in popular theatre, the beginnings of a `society of spectacle', the emergence of the print media, the development of stage direction and set design and the crisis in pictorial and literary representation created a dynamic cultural climate wherein the interface between writing, painting and dramatic representation thrived. Examples include the paintings of performances by Edgar Degas, costume and set designs by Fernand Khnopff and Sarah Bernhardt's self-promotion through photography.

We invite papers in English which discuss all aspects of this area of study and are particularly interested in contributions which develop the following ideas:

  • The depiction of theatre and performance in painting
  • Paintings and visual imagery in theatre
  • The illustration of plays by artistsv
  • Set and costume design by painters
  • Theatrical techniques in pictorial representation: perspective, lighting, illusion, mise-en-scène
  • Visual technology and the stage: panoramas and dioramas
  • Artists' posters and prints for stage productions
  • Photography and the Stage
  • Le Tableau-Vivant v Artists as dramatists; actors as painters
  • Gesture as language
  • Masks, illusion and artifice

Conference organisers: Dr. Claire Moran, French Studies, QUB and Dr. Kurt Taroff, Drama Studies, QUB. Please send 300-word abstracts of papers to by 15th of July 2010. A selection of the conference papers will be edited for publication by the conference organisers. Dr. Claire Moran, French Studies, 10 University Square, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN


Centre for Victorian Studies | University of Exeter | 1 – 2 July 2011 Keynote speakers: Stephen Arata | Joseph Bristow | Regenia Gagnier | Catherine Maxwell

The initial reception of ‘decadent’ writing in both France and England was characterized by a focus on form and the importance of the poets of the late Roman Empire. From Theophile Gautier’s Preface to the 1868 edition of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal to Arthur Symons’s ‘The Decadent Movement in Literature’ and Paul Borget’s famous delineation of decadent writing attempts to articulate a ‘decadent poetics’ were central to the definition of this new literature. Yet in recent years our understanding of decadence has been occluded by the focus on cultural politics and sexual transgression, which continue to dominate academic criticism of the fin de siècle. This conference seeks to return to the Victorian interest in language, poetics and form as the key to understanding decadence and aestheticism as literary phenomena. The focus here will be on both poetry and prose of the period and we particularly encourage those interested in marginal and forgotten writers of the period, along with the debates on the relationship between poetics and a culture in decline. In an attempt to outline a decadent poetics, we also seek to expand and complicate the canon of ‘decadent’ writers who dominate prevailing versions of the Victorian fin de siècle.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • education and language
  • Victorians and Roman literature
  • Decadent prosody
  • Decadent and Modernist poetics
  • Aestheticist poetics
  • transatlantic Decadence
  • fin-de-siècle philology/linguistics
  • politics of Decadence and Aestheticism
  • satires of Decadent form
  • print/visual cultures of Decadence
  • Decadence and new technologies
  • genetic readings of Decadence
  • archival Decadence
  • material Decadence

Abstracts of 300-500 words should be sent to Dr Alex Murray and Dr Jason Hall via email at by 10 November 2010.

Proposals for panels (comprising three speakers) are also welcome—please submit the title and a brief description of the panel as well as abstracts for the individual papers. Speakers (whether part of a proposed panel or not) are asked to include a one-page CV with full contact details, institutional affiliation (where applicable) and a list of relevant publications. Please bear in mind that final papers should take between 15 and 20 minutes (maximum) to deliver.


The Fin de Siècle ( is a site devoted to the art, culture, and literature of the late nineteenth century. Daily posts feature a combination of poetry, art, and photography, as well as cultural highlights, celebrities, related exhibitions, and publication announcements. We are happy accept short submissions, relevant links, or suggestions for content or reviews.

"Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre" at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, June 19-September 26, 2010