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PRACTICAL AESTHETICS AND DECADENT RATIONALE IN GEORGE GISSING

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2000

Diana Maltz
Affiliation:
Southern Oregon University

Abstract

A YOUNG MAN living on a meager tutor’s salary skimps on his expenses to attend an 1882 commemorative exhibit of D. G. Rossetti’s work at the Royal Academy; he then purchases a volume of Rossetti’s sonnets, and makes a pilgrimage to Cheyne Walk where Rossetti had lived. He adopts Aesthetic style more concretely when he moves into a new flat and furnishes it with a dado and a cabinet papered in a Japanese print. In 1886, he subscribes to the library of the Grosvenor Gallery, the institutional center of British Aestheticism. He is tickled by Oscar Wilde’s public performances as an aesthete in 1887, regretting only that Wilde has cut his hair and exchanged velvet breeches for more conventional trousers. Having copied Pater’s famous passage on La Gioconda into his Commonplace Book in 1880, he responds to a trip to Greece years later through a Paterian reverie, trying to recapture the lost, classical Greece he had learned as a child.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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