Late-Victorian Decadent Song Literature

Desmarais, Jane H.. 2021. Late-Victorian Decadent Song Literature. Victorian Literature and Culture, 49(4), pp. 689-710. ISSN 1060-1503 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article considers the Victorian and Edwardian vogue for setting late-Victorian decadent poetry to music. It examines the particular appeal of Ernest Dowson's and Arthur Symons's verse to the composers Cyril Scott and Frederick Delius, whose Songs of Sunset (1911) was regarded as the “quintessential expression of the fin-de-siècle spirit,” and discusses the contribution of women composers and musicians—particularly that of the Irish composer and translator Adela Maddison (1866–1929)—to the cross-continental tradition of decadent song literature and the musical legacy of decadence in the late-Victorian period and beyond.

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This article has been published in a revised form in Victorian Literature and Culture []. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature > Decadence Research Unit


12 May 2020Accepted
9 December 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2020 14:42

Last Modified:

17 Dec 2021 11:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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