I chanced across this book a while ago and, liking the look of it, bought it. Many times since I have picked it up with the intention of light browsing, but found myself drawn in and re-reading it all again. It is a wonderful little collection with liberal amounts of Aubrey Beardsley illustrations. Included is his immensely erotic short story Venus and Tannhauser. I was suprised to find Olive Custance there, but it was obviously not a mistake to include her! The print of the chapter headings is reminiscent of Victorian newspapers, but why shouldn't this book be in all aspects aesthetically pleasing?
The poems included in this anthology are probably the most beautiful pieces of the 1890s, and the proses are workpieces that greatly influenced the decadent way of thought. This book is a smart, well thought out ensemble that easily represents the epitome of this style of literature, and not only that, the book's edition is very pleasing, aesthetically. I can say I am very satisfied with this acquisition. Also, I have noticed a peculiar perfume on the pages. I believe it is artificially assigned, and not the natural perfume of the paper - would anyone know what fragrance that is, by any chance?
This is a very good starter collection of some of the more peripheral figures of the decadence / fin de siecle / aesthetic movement of the 1890s, and also includes pieces by some of the better known (step forward Oscar Wilde) as well. Worth it for the variety in selection - would be a good course book for anyone doing 1890s courses at uni - as well as the good bibliography, and also the hard-to-find pieces such as the extracts from Robert Hichens' parody of Wilde and "Bosie" Douglas 'The Green Carnation'. My only quibble would be that it focuses rather too much on the poetry of the period for my liking, but it is a reasonably comprehensive survey in terms of author inclsiveness. All in all, a good collection presented well at a very reasonable price.