Influence of Decadent Movement on Wilde.

This timeline serves as a reflection of the Eurpoean influence the Decadence Movement held on Oscar Wilde and his published work. Ever-willing to press boundaries and explore the fine line of morality held within England, Wilde explored his relationship to critique and the banning of published works for acts of biblical indecency. 


Chronological table

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Date Event Created by Associated Places
26 Jun 1878

Oscar Wilde wins Newdigate Prize for poem Ravenna.

Oscar Wilde wins the Newdigate Prize on June 26th, 1878 for poem Ravenna.  The Newdigate Prize is an annual award founded in 1805 by Sir Roger Newdigate. Recipients of the award are deemed to have written the best student poem of up to 300 lines on the topic of their choice while attending Oxford University. Heavily influenced by English writers John Ruskin and Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde’s poem, Ravenna, explores the interdisciplinary relationship that correlated the influence Italy held on the British Decadence movement. Titled after the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, Wilde is quick to show the crucial impact Italian culture, lifestyle, and history held in shaping the mindset of British authors and creatives as it relates to British Decadence. With intention to stress the intensity of aesthetic and aestheticism as it relates to desired lifestyle, Ravenna exuded the love and lust for celebration of all that is grandiose and splendid.

Kira Berkoff

Oscar Wilde publishes Intentions in 1891.

Oscar Wilde publishes Intentions in 1891 through the publishing house of Simon and Schuster. Intentions consists of an anthology of Wilde’s previous essays including titles such as "Pen, Pencil, and Poison,” "The Critic as Artist,” and "The Truth of Masks” in which he discusses and insists upon the amoral nature of art regardless of whether the ending is viewed as having a moral resolution. Heavily influenced by French poets Theophile Gautier and Charles Baudelaire, Intentions discusses art, literature, criticism, and societal displays of morality or lack thereof. Considered to be “An Early Modernist Manifesto,” Intentions served as the primordial British publication promoting “art for art’s sake.”

Kira Berkoff

Oscar Wilde writes French play Salomé in 1891.


Oscar Wilde writes play Salomé in 1891. A one-act tragedy play originally written in French and published in English three years later after having been translated by Lord Alfred Douglas, Salomé is accompanied by Aubrey Beardsly’s illustrations. Salomé was written, as Wilde describes, “to make his audience shudder by its depiction of unnatural passion.” Halted by the censor due to the biblical nature involved,  the play tells the story of Salomé, princess of Judaea, daughter of Queen Herodias and step-daughter to King Herod. The play follows Salomé as she explores the moral boundaries and physical consequences associated with falling in love with the voice of a Iokanaan who is later found out to be John the Baptist. The first showing of the play took place in Paris in 1896 and was banned by Britain until 1931.

Kira Berkoff