This is a comparative and interdisciplinary book exploring a variety of perspectives on the artistic culture of France, and its neighbours, in the period 1870-1914. Part One centres on France, and assembles essays on the prose, poetry and painting of Symbolism and Decadence, on avant-garde dance and performance, on women's writing and on early cinema.
Part Two explores the relations between France and several cultures in which the debt to France was amply and originally repaid-ranging from the Anglo-Celtic "Rhymers' Club" to the Italian "Crepusculari". The essays consistently point beyond the late nineteenth-century and into the twentieth, as they explore the multiple beginnings-as well as the false starts-that characterize the period. All foreign language quotations are translated.