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Aubrey Beardsley by Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945

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By Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945

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How far was that more genuine aspect of his genius also an " infinite capacity for taking pains " ? The republication by Mr Lane, the publisher of the " Yellow Book," of Beardsley's contributions in prose and verse to the " Savoy," its " rival," as Mr Lane correctly calls it, with the illustrations which there accompanied them, reopens a little, busy chapter in contemporary history. It is the history of yesterday, and it seems already at the distance of half a century. Then, what brave petulant outbursts of poets and artists, what comic rivalries and reluctances of publishers, what droll conflicts of art and morality, what thunders of the trumpets of the press !

H. Evans for the suggestion and use of some hitherto unused drawings and reproductions, and Mr John Lane and Mr Dent for permission to reproduce the remainder of the illustrations. CONTENTS CAGt Preface . . . . i ;^ Aubrey Beardsley ...... 25 Reproductions of Pictures . . 49 Portrait by Jacques Blanche {Phdogravure) Frontispiece Facsimile of Translation from Catullus ("Savoy") facing 13 Tailpiece from Bon Mots . . 47 Merlin ("Morte Darthur") .... 49 How King Arthur saw the Questing Beast and thereof had Great Marvel .

Then, what brave petulant outbursts of poets and artists, what comic rivalries and reluctances of publishers, what droll conflicts of art and morality, what thunders of the trumpets of the press ! The press is silent now, or admiring ; the publishers have changed places, and all rivalries are handsomely buried, with laudatory inscriptions on their tombstones. The situation has its irony, which would have appealed most to the actor most conspicuously absent from the scene. Beardsley was very anxious to be a writer, and, though in his verse there was no merit except that of a c 17 AUBREY BEARDSLEY thing done to order, to one's own order, and done without a flaw in the process, there was, in his prose, a much finer quahty, and his fragment of an unachieved and unplanned romance has a savour of its own.

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