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Yellow nineties
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 5 August, 2020 01:25PM
Hello.

Can anybody explain to me what Mr. Lovecraft means by "yellow nineties?". The phrase appears in his "Supernatural Horror In Literature."

Matthew Phipps Shiel, author of many weird, grotesque, and adventurous novels and tales, occasionally attains a high level of horrific magic. Xelucha is a noxiously hideous fragment, but is excelled by Mr. Shiel's undoubted masterpiece, The House of Sounds, floridly written in the "yellow nineties," and recast with more artistic restraint in the early twentieth century.

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 5 August, 2020 05:05PM
The "Yellow Nineties" refers to the decadent fiction of the 1890s, notably THE YELLOW BOOK (1894-1897). This would include Arthur Machen's THE GREAT GOD PAN & THE INMOST LIGHT (1895), which was published by the Bodley Head, the same press that published THE YELLOW BOOK.

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 5 August, 2020 06:09PM

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 August, 2020 08:39PM
... that tract of English life and letters sometimes designated as the Yellow 'Nineties, in which a confluence of forces had made fashionable the languor of Pater, the dandyism of Whistler and Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley's sinister attenuations of evil, the drab realism of Gissing and George Moore, Russian pessimism, Parisian Orientalism, the dreary sad-eyed singing of Ernest Dowson, the spiritual impotence of Arthur Symons, and every shade of the venemous melancholia which infests the airs of Swinburne's <Garden or Proserpine.>

Stuard P. Sherman, "Gilbert Keith Chesterton", The World's Best Literature vol. 6 (Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1917), p. 3628b.


Here's a more-appreciative assessment:

The movement of the Eighteen Nineties, however, which has most engaged the attention of writers, the movement called "Decadent," or by the names of Oscar Wilde or Aubrey Beardsley, and recently summed up by The Times under the epithet "The Yellow Nineties," does even now dominate the vision as we look back. And, indeed, though only part of the renaissance, is as sufficiently "brilliant," to use one its its own cliches, to dazzle those capable of being dazzled by the achievements of art and letters for many years to come. For a renaissance of art and ideas which in literature had for examplars Oscar Wilde (his best books were all published in the Nineties), Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Rudyard Kipling, John Davidson, Hubert Crackenthorpe, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Barrie, Alice Meynell, George Moore, Israel Zangwill, Henry Harland, George Gissing, "John Oliver Hobbes," Grant Allen, Quiller Couch, Max Beerbohm, Cunninhame Grahame, Fiona Macleod (William Sharp), Richard L Gallienne, Ernest Dowson, Arthur Symons, Lionel Johnson, and A.B. Walkley; and in pictorial art, James Pryde, William Nicholson, Phil May, William Orpen, Aubrey Beardsley, E.E. Hornel, Wilson Steer, Charles Ricketts, J.J. Shannon, Charles Shannon, John Lavery, John Duncan Fergusson, J.T. Peploe, Charles Condor and William Rothstein could not have been other than arresting, could not, indeed, be other than important in the history of the arts.

Holbrook Jackson, The Eighteen Nineties (Riverside Press, Edinburgh, 1922), p. 34 (first published 1913)

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 6 August, 2020 12:37AM
"In April 1894 a young bookseller’s clerk, John Lewis May, assisted the manager of The Bodley Head in arranging the shop window. As he later recalled: “I filled the window of the little shop in Vigo Street—the original Bodley Head—with Yellow Books, and nothing but Yellow Books, creating such a mighty glow of yellow at the far end of Vigo Street that one might have been forgiven for imagining for a moment that some awful portent had happened, and that the sun had risen in the West” (74). The “mighty glow of yellow” emanating from this unnatural dawn continued long past the launch of the avant-garde magazine of art and literature, and indeed long past its final issue three years later in April 1897. In 1913, Holbrook Jackson, describing the impact of The Yellow Book, explained: “It was newness in excelsis: novelty naked and unashamed. People were puzzled and shocked and delighted, and yellow became the colour of the hour, the symbol of the time-spirit. It was associated with all that was bizarre and queer in art and life, with all that was outrageously modern”"
Introduction to the Yellow Nineties

It may also be associated with the Yellow Peril, which was at its most intense by the end of the 1800s and beginning of 1900. Shiel, Chambers, and Sax Rohmer wrote books touching upon this subject.

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 6 August, 2020 12:58AM
Thank you very much.

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Ashurabani (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2020 08:47AM
This same epoch is also reffered to by the French "fin de siecle" or "end of the century", and produced quite a lot of bizarre, weird, fantastic, raw and just plain morbid fiction coming out of the 1890s and early 1900s France.

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2020 11:32AM
In my opinion, right here is as weird as it gets:

[en.wikipedia.org]

There's an extract published as "The Hours in the Life of a Lousy-Haired Man" that is perhaps the strangest related sequence I've read. It's coherently descriptive, but describes a vision of ???

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Yellow nineties
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2020 11:38AM
A bit more...

[www.barnesandnoble.com]

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."



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