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  • Cited by 3
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2021
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Book description

Casting fresh light on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British art, literature, ecological science and paganism, Decadent Ecology reveals the pervasive influence of decadence and paganism on modern understandings of nature and the environment, queer and feminist politics, national identities, and changing social hierarchies. Combining scholarship in the environmental humanities with aesthetic and literary theory, this interdisciplinary study digs into works by Simeon Solomon, Algernon Swinburne, Walter Pater, Robert Louis Stevenson, Vernon Lee, Michael Field, Arthur Machen and others to address trans-temporal, trans-species intimacy; the vagabondage of place; the erotics of decomposition; occult ecology; decadent feminism; and neo-paganism. Decadent Ecology reveals the mutually influential relationship of art and science during the formulation of modern ecological, environmental, evolutionary and trans-national discourses, while also highlighting the dissident dynamism of new and recuperative pagan spiritualities - primarily Celtic, Nordic-Germanic, Greco-Roman and Egyptian - in the framing of personal, social and national identities.


‘… a provocative addition to the study of both decadence and ecology.’

Elizabeth Helsinger

‘I want to underscore in concluding that Denisoff’s book is an important work that we will all be living with for many years to come. Its attentiveness to ethics - both late-Victorian and twenty-first century - means it will shape our field. It is a book that makes you think, that you feel obliged to work with, and against. It is no doubt going to generate a great deal of new scholarship, whether that be through its expansion of who is a Decadent, or the bridges it builds with Decadence studies and other fields.’

Alex Murray Source: Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism

‘Dennis Denisoff's Decadent Ecology in British Literature and Art, 1860–1910: Decay, Desire and the Pagan Revival is an incredibly important book, its style smooth as silk and brilliantly illuminating. But there are ethical strata in Decadent Ecology that lay the groundwork for future scholarship on decadence that makes this jewel of a book a singular achievement … he offers us a decadent ethics of compassionate, intertwined coexistence that is sorely needed in these painful times.’

Julia Skelly Source: Victorian Studies

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