The DRC organises conferences, lectures, and public talks and events on a wide range of decadent themes.

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Photograph of Annie Horniman

Annie Horniman: In Conversation - 13 July 2023

Annie Horniman (1860-1937) was well known for her work in setting up regional theatres in Dublin and Manchester. She was an artist and an activist, and was involved with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn between 1890-1903. Many years later, in the 1930s, she joined the Theosophist Quest society formed by George R. S. Mead.

The Decadence, Magic(k), and Occult Network (DMON) are delighted to welcome Viv Gardner, an established expert on Annie Horniman’s theatrical and political work, Geraldine Beskin, the owner of the occult bookshop Atlantis and specialist on the women of early twentieth-century occultism, and Simon Costin, the director of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, who has an established background in theatre design.

This conversation will bring together these experts on Annie Horniman to discuss the fascinating relationship between her theatrical life, political activism, and occult interests. 

Tickets and more information can be found on the BADS website.


Decadence and the Fairy Tale - 24 March 2023

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.

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

For more information, please visit our website.


DMON Screenings

BADS was delighted to host a series of Jeudi screenings to coincide with the launch of the Decadence, Magick, and Occult Network (DMON) at the DRC.

Edmund Elias Merhige’s Begotten (1989) - Introduced by Madeline Le Despencer
Thursday 3 November 2022, RHB Cinema, 18.30 - 20.00

Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice (1971) - Introduced by Jessica Gossling and Alice Condé
Thursday 30 March 2022, RHB Cinema, 18.30 - 20.00



Short Courses

Old map of south London

London in Literature: Gothic, Decadent, Modern

This unique course offers a chance to reconceptualise London in fiction by examining Gothic, Decadent, and Modernist representations of the city from the Victorian period to the present day. We’ll explore the unknown corners, subterranean channels, and unconventional pleasures that have inspired and shaped Literature in London.

For more information, please visit the short course webpage.

Past Conferences and Events


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Neo-Victorian Decadence - 26–28 October 2022

This three-day conference, co-organized by Centro Universitario di Studi Vittoriani e Edoardiani (CUSVE) and the DRC united scholars of decadent and Neo-Victorian literature, and highlighted the legacies of fin-de-siècle decadence in Neo-Victorian works, partly expanding the scope of Neo-Victorian Decadence, a volume of essays co-edited by Kostas Boyiopoulos and Joseph Thorne, two members of the organizing committee (forthcoming in 2022). We aimed to emphasize the multicultural and multilingual aspects of decadence in its Neo-Victorian afterlives. At the same time, interrogating periodization by extending the temporal boundaries of Neo-Victorianism backwards and considering what qualifies as a Neo-Victorian text. 

Decadent Bodies - 28-29 July 2022

Decadence has an uneasy relationship with the body. It is at once a site of profound sensorial pleasure, and a material trapping to be escaped through aesthetic or narcotic stimulation. Decadence is ‘of’ the body – it augments its sensorial capabilities and cultivates uncommon tastes – but it also recognises the body as that which threatens to limit more refined and perfectly debauched pursuits of the imagination.

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Decadence and Fashion - 7, 14, 21, & 28 October 2021

The Autumn 2021 series of Jeudis explored the connections between Aestheticism and Decadence through the lens of 19th century fashion and related literary and material culture.

For more information, please visit our website.

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Art Writing and the Body - 1–3 September 2021

This three-day online conference explored how art writing from the Romantic period to the present registers the body, its sensations, and sensory responses. It considered the ways in which artists, writers, and critics register traces of the visual encounter as an embodied aesthetic experience.

For more information, please visit our website.

Photograph of Vernon Lee

Lates with Lee - 18 & 25 March 2021

In association with the International Vernon Lee Society, BADS was delighted to host two online Thursday evening events exploring the life and works of Vernon Lee.

For more information and to book tickets, please visit our website.


Staging Decadence - 10, 24, & 31 March 2021

Free Zoom talks co-hosted by Staging Decadence and the Decadence Research Centre.

Sniffing Out a Past: Nando Messias and Stephen Farrier
Wednesday 10 March 2021 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm GMT

Pleasure, Excess and the Spectacular Body in Performance: Selina Thompson, Nia O. Witherspoon, and Angel Rose
Wednesday 24 March 2021 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm GMT

Theatre, Decadence and the Occult: Normandy Sherwood, Edmund B. Lingan, and Giulia Casalini
Wednesday 31 March 2021 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm GMT

Image ©: Linn da Quebrada, 2020. © Gabriel Renne. 

Photograph of Oscar Wilde

The Wilde Connection - 26 Nov & 3 Dec 2020

In association with The Oscar Wilde Society, BADS was delighted to present 'The Wilde Connection' - two online Thursday evening events exploring new research in Wildean Studies.

For more details and to listen to the recordings of these talks, please visit our website

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Aesthetic Time, Decadent Archives - 18-19 July 2019

This two-day conference, co-organized by the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS) and the Aestheticism and Decadence Network, explored the ‘archival turn’ in aestheticism and decadence studies. Our aim was to extend discussion of the aestheticist and decadent archive beyond the bounds of the fin de siècle, to foreground a long history of aestheticism and decadence that looks back to their roots in the ancient world and ahead to their continuing presence in twentieth and twenty-first century literature and art.

For more information, please visit our website.

Drawing of a ritual with cats and witches

Decadence, Magic(k), and the Occult - 19-20 July 2018

The blurred boundaries between decadence, magic(k), and the occult are epitomised in the icons of nineteenth-century occultism; W. B. Yeats and Aleister Crowley, two figures who are synonymous with the paradoxical elements of the Occult Revival of the fin de siècle and yet united through their engagement with decadent art and literature. This conference examined this liminal space, where elements of practical magic and literary esotericism meet. 

For more information, please visit our website.

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Arthur Symons at the Fin de Siècle - 21 July 2017

Arthur Symons (1865-1945) is the dominant figure in English decadent verse of the late nineteenth century. He stood at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. At the heart of his decadent poetics was the paradoxical notion that poetry should ‘fix’ fleetingly ‘the quintessence of things’, an idea which looks back to the psychological unfixities of Baudelaire’s verse and forwards to the melancholy and romantic modernism of T. S. Eliot. 

For more information about the symposium, please visit our website.

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Ernest Dowson (1867-1900): Poet, Translator, Novelist - 15 April 2016

In the 120 years since the publication of Verses, Ernest Dowson has become something of a decadent legend, but is still considered a minor figure of the fin de siècle. This symposium developed new perspectives on Ernest Dowson, and resulted in the collection of essays, In Cynara's Shadow: Collected Essays on Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), edited by Alice Condé and Jessica Gossling (Peter Lang, 2019).

For more information about the event please visit our website.

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Decadence and the Senses - 10-11 April 2014

Reading decadence, from ancient times to the present day, is to indulge in voluptuous pleasures and pains, to sample exotic tastes and sounds, and to envisage states of mind in highly visual terms. This interdisciplinary conference was an opportunity to trace common visual, aural and ‘perfumed’ motifs in decadent works, and to reflect on the extent to which the senses are important to our understanding of the tradition.

Details of the event, podcasts, and abstracts are available on our website, and the collection of essays inspired by this conference, Decadence and the Senses, edited by Jane Desmarais and Alice Condé, is available from