Decadence and the Fairy Tale

24 March 2023

Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building, Room 137


Call for Papers


Abstract and Biographies

Programme, Abstracts and Biographies (downloadable PDF file)

Register to attend


© Juliet Snape


Organised by the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS)
and the Goldsmiths’ Decadence Research Centre
In association with the Centre for Comparative Literature


Keynote Speaker: Dr Alessandro Cabiati (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)


Decadent writers and artists repeatedly turned to the fairy tale tradition as a rich source of inspiration. They saw the fairy tale as an opportunity to showcase both its potential for subversion and their own skill at integrating adult, decadent elements within texts traditionally perceived as reserved for children. Writers such as Oscar Wilde, Arthur Machen, Jean Lorrain (Paul Alexandre Martin Duval), Renée Vivien (Pauline Mary Tarn), and Rachilde (Marguerite Eymery Vallette) transformed the fairy tale into a strikingly transgressive adult text with capacity to explore mystical, occult and esoteric spaces, reject social and literary conventionality, and embrace decadent individualism, queer desire and sexual dissidence.

This one-day symposium explores the role and significance of the decadent fairy tale from the late nineteenth century to the present.


Conference Organisers:

Eleanor Keane (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Jane Desmarais (Goldsmiths, University of London)

For any queries about Decadence and the Fairy Tale, please email



(Click here for directions to Goldsmiths and for a campus map)


With thanks from the conference organisers, Eleanor Keane and Jane Desmarais, to the Graduate School for contributing funds for this event, Chartwells for catering on the day, our colleagues in the Centre for Comparative Literature for their partnership and support, and to Juliet Snape for the image of the bejewelled toad