Decadent Conservatism: Politics and Aesthetics in The Senate

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    The relationship between late-Victorian Decadence and Aestheticism and politics has long been vexed. This article explores the hitherto under-explored confluence of conservatism and avant-garde literature in the period by introducing The Senate, a Tory-Decadent journal that ran from 1894-7. While Decadent authors occupied various political positions, this article argues that The Senate offers a crucial link between conservatism and Decadence The article presents the journal in its political and publishing context, outlining its editorial position on such issues as the Liberal Unionist-Conservative coalition governments, Britain's relationship with Europe and the threat of ‘State Socialism’, as well as its valorisation of Bollingbroke and eighteenth-century Toryism, and its relationship to, and difference from, key Decadent journals the Yellow Book and The Savoy. It then goes on to articulate its relationship to Decadence by focussing on the presence of Paul Verlaine in its pages and its vitriolic response to the press coverage of Oscar Wilde's trials. The article concludes by exploring the surprising wake of The Senate, briefly tracing the editors' influence in the development of Modernism and links with the journal BLAST.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)186-211
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
    Issue number2
    Early online date16 Feb 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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