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Definition: Beardsley, Aubrey from Philip's Encyclopedia

English illustrator. His highly wrought, stylized, black-and-white drawings epitomize the English art nouveau style. Associated with the Decadent writers of the 1890s and the aesthetic movement, Beardsley illustrated the first four volumes of the Yellow Book (1894-95) and Oscar Wilde's play Salome. His mainstream work, such as Isolde (1895), enabled him to produce more outrageous, erotic 'Japonesque' illustrations.


Summary Article: Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(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);.
  • biography by M. Sturgis (1999);.
  • his letters, ed. by J. L. Duncan and W. G. Good (1970);.
  • study by B. Reade (1967).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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