Wilde Women and The Yellow Book: The Sexual Politics of Aestheticism and Decadence

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Ledger, Sally. “Wilde Women and The Yellow Book: The Sexual Politics of Aestheticism and Decadence.” English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920. 50.1 (2007). 5-26. Print.

Ledger examines the intersection of Oscar Wilde, The Yellow Book, and the New Woman movement, arguing that, despite the popular conception of the New Woman figure as being principally associated with Oscar Wilde, The Yellow Book should be read as one of the most important venues for women writers in the 1890s. Ledger examines in depth the relationship between women writers and The Yellow Book, positing that the magazine provided a space wherein critical cultural debate could take place, and that this discourse often centered on fiction by women contributors. Ledger also looks at New Woman writing in The Yellow Book as taking place within the critical nexus of the aesthetic and Decadent movements. Ledger believes this is significant, in that both aestheticism and the Decadence were vital in the formation of an avant-garde culture, of which the New Woman movement was a part.