“The quintessential creation of the fin-de-siècle was a slim volume of decadent verse. The attraction of the Eighteen Nineties to many aesthetes and bibliophiles is the appearance of a few exquisitely-produced books of poems in severely limited editions of a few hundred or less. But what of those whose work was even more elusive and ethereal – the poets whose verses have not survived at all? In the first known essay of its kind, Mark Valentine revives the memory of five strange and tragic Eighteen Nineties figures whose work seems utterly lost.
Continuing the theme of lost works, Valentine also discusses a macabre thriller written by Nineties poet Ernest Dowson in collaboration with an Oxford friend, Arthur Moore. It was completed, but never published, and the whereabouts of any manuscript are now unknown. Valentine reconstructs the theme and plot of The Passion of Dr Ludovicus, using the ebullient letters between the two authors. The lost shocker emerges as a rival to Stevenson’s ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ and the essay is a fascinating response to a tantalising mystery.”
Designed in tribute to the art of the fin de siècle, this exquisite book includes exotic illustrations by Ronald Balfour, in the mode of Aubrey Beardsley.