Members of the DRC share a wide range of expertise that covers the fields of literature (from the Classics to the present), cinema history, drama, theatre, performance and live art, translation, aesthetics, literary and cultural history and theory, political economics, and philosophy.
Primary page content
Professor Jane Desmarais
Jane Desmarais is the Director of the DRC. She is Editor-in-Chief of Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence Studies and Chair of the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS).
She has published numerous essays and articles on the theme of decadence, and her most recent publications include Decadence and the Senses (with Alice Condé, 2017); Arthur Symons: Selected Early Poems (with Chris Baldick, 2017); Monsters Under Glass: A Cultural History of Hothouse Flowers, 1850 to the Present (Reaktion Books, 2018); Decadence and Literature (with David Weir, 2019); The Oxford Handbook of Decadence (with David Weir, 2021).
She is currently working on an edition of Decadent Plays, 1890-1930 with Adam Alston (forthcoming with Bloomsbury in 2023), and translating (with Brendan King) the art writings of Robert de Montesquiou.
Dr Adam Alston
Adam Alston is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Theatre in the Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Co-Deputy Director of the DRC (with Alice Condé). His research cuts across several areas including immersive theatre, complete darkness and obscured vision in performance, and – most recently – decadence and transgression in contemporary theatre and live art. He is the author of Beyond Immersive Theatre: Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and co-editor of Theatre in the Dark: Shadow, Gloom and Blackout in Contemporary Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2017). He is currently working on two new book projects: an anthology of decadent plays co-edited with Jane Desmarais, and a monograph looking at how contemporary theatre makers have been reacting to an accelerating pace of life, stretching it to points of trashy excess.
Emeritus Professor Chris Baldick
Chris Baldick is co-editor with Jane Desmarais of Decadence: An Annotated Anthology (2012) and of Arthur Symons: Selected Early Poems (2017). Decadence is one of a number of strands of Chris Baldick’s research in the field of 19th-century literature. In the history of literary criticism, he has traced the evolution of critical thought from Arnold, Pater and Wilde into twentieth-century adaptations. Chris has also focused on Gothic fiction, as in the widely used anthology The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales (1990), and further work on shorter Gothic and related fiction has included two annotated selections (both edited with the Canadian scholar Robert Morrison).
Dr Alice Condé
Alice Condé is Fractional Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, and Co-Deputy Director of the DRC (with Adam Alston). Her chapter on ‘Decadence and Popular Culture’ is published in Decadence and Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and 'Contemporary Contexts: Decadence Today and Tomorrow' appears in the Oxford Handbook of Decadence(Oxford University Press, 2021). She is co-editor of two collections of essays: with Jane Desmarais, Decadence and the Senses (Legenda, 2017), and with Jessica Gossling, In Cynara’s Shadow: Collected Essays on Ernest Dowson(Peter Lang, 2019). She is Deputy Editor of Volupté and Secretary of the British Association of Decadence Studies.
Dr Jessica Gossling
Dr Jessica Gossling is Fractional Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Assistant Editor of The Literary Encyclopedia. She is co-editor, with Alice Condé, of In Cynara’s Shadow: Collected Essays on Ernest Dowson (Peter Lang in 2019). Her essay on 'À rebours and the House at Fontenay' is published in Decadence and the Senses and her essay on decadent interior design for the Oxford Handbook of Decadence can be read here. Alongside researching decadence, magic, and occultism, Jessica is working on her first monograph on Decadent threshold poetics. Jessica is also Deputy Editor of Volupté and Treasurer of the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS).
Dr Isobel Hurst
Isobel Hurst’s research examines the reception of Greek and Latin literature in English, looking at the connection between classical education and authorship and women writers’ creative engagement with the classical tradition. She is the author of Victorian Women Writers and the Classics: The Feminine of Homer (2006) and is currently completing a book, Muse and Minerva: Transatlantic Women Writers and the Classical Tradition. She has written essays on Victorian poetry and the classics for the Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry (2013) and the Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature (2015), and has recently contributed to two volumes in Oxford University Press’s Classical Presences series: Oscar Wilde and Classical Antiquity (2017) and Pater the Classicist (2017).
Dr Ben Levitas
Ben Levitas is Head of Department and Reader in the Department of Theatre and Performance. He practices an interdisciplinary approach to theatre, in particular integrating theatre history with cultural and political history – with a specialism in Irish studies. His approach is informed by a broad training: after gaining an MA in Modern Literature from Queen Mary, University of London, Ben was awarded his doctorate from the History Faculty, Oxford University, and went on to teach at the School of Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before joining the Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths. His first book, The Theatre of Nation: Irish Drama and Cultural Nationalism 1890-1916 was awarded the Michael J. Durkan Prize. Ben also convenes, with Professor Roy Foster (Queen Mary), Dr Lauren Arrington (Liverpool University), and Dr Simon Prince (Canterbury Christchurch) the London Irish Studies Seminar based at the School of Advanced Study, Senate House.
Professor David Weir
David Weir is a Goldsmiths Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, where he taught literature, linguistics, and cinema. He has published books on Jean Vigo, James Joyce, William Blake, orientalism, and anarchism, as well as three books on decadence. Those books have had a major role in the development of decadence as an academic field of study, beginning with Decadence and the Making of Modernism (1995), Decadent Culture in the United States (2007), and Decadence: A Very Short Introduction (2018). Most recently he has publsihed Bohemians: A Very Short Introduction (2023). Both Very Short Introductions are available as audiobooks. He is co-editor with Jane Desmarais of Decadence and Literature, a volume in the Cambridge Critical Concepts series (2019), and the Oxford Handbook of Decadence (2022). He has also written a book on Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise for the BFI's Film Classics series, published in 2021, and his other book in the same series, on Luchino Visconti's Il gattopardo (The Leopard), is in production.
Internal Associate Members
External Associate Members
- Dr Matthew Creasy
- Professor Guy Ducrey
- Professor Stefano-Maria Evangelista
- Dr Kate Hext
- Professor Dan Rebellato
- Professor Enrichetta Soccio
Dr Sasha Dovzhyk is a DRC Distinguished Research Fellow, and a Ukrainian writer and scholar based in London. She has co-edited a scholarly volume of Aubrey Beardsley’s Decadent Writings (forthcoming with the MHRA), and has written on topics as diverse as transnational decadent aesthetics and the legacies of Chornobyl for various publications, including British Art Studies, Modernist Cultures, Los Angeles Review of Books and The Ecologist. Her recent contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Decadence discusses the decadent literature of eastern Europe.
Since 2020, Sasha has been the Director of the Aubrey Beardsley Society, a hybrid digital humanities project, an online publication platform, and an exercise in community building. Sasha curates the digital archive of open-access primary and secondary sources on Aubrey Beardsley (AB Library) while also commissioning scholarly and creative pieces for the Society’s publication platform (AB Blog).
Supported by the Alessandra Wilson Fund, the Aubrey Beardsley Society engages the community of scholars and amateurs through a variety of initiatives, including the Emerging Beardsley Scholar Prize, Artist in Residence programme, monthly newsletters, and social media campaigns.
In 2022, the Aubrey Beardsley Society will join forces with the DRC to celebrate Aubrey Beardsley’s 150th anniversary in style.
Graham Henderson is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Decadence Research Centre. A successful arts leader and cultural entrepreneur, Graham has successfully founded two new arts organisations in the UK over the last fifteen years and has worked as a public art consultant. From 2006 he developed Poet in the City as a successful ‘mixed funding’ model which achieved its selection as a National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England in 2010. Since 2014 Graham has been CEO of the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation, a dynamic cross-arts organisation inspired by the French poets. As a public art consultant Graham delivered Pope’s Urn in 2015, a major piece of public art inspired by poetry, and wrote the official essay of support for the Farrell Review, calling for a new approach to the commissioning of public art.
Eleanor Keane is a PhD student in the Department of English and Creative Writing. Her thesis will examine fin-de-siècle fairy tales as examples of queer decadent narratives, and her research interests focus on literary decadence and the visual arts, and expressions of gender, decadence, and sexuality within the late nineteenth century. Eleanor graduated from Goldsmiths in 2019 with an MA in Literary Studies, and her dissertation explored sexuality, consumption, and the image of the decadent ‘she-wolf’ in the work of Renée Vivien and Rachilde. In December 2019, she presented her paper, ‘Princesses of Glass and Silence: Renée Vivien’s (Re)translation of the Fairy Tale’ at the Decadence and Translation Network’s ‘Translating Decadence’ workshop. She has written on Renée Vivien for the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation blog and the British Association of Victorian Studies ‘Victorianist’ postgraduate researcher blog.
Cherrie Kwok is a Goldsmiths Visiting Research Fellow in the Decadence Research Centre. She is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Virginia, where she holds the Elizabeth Arendall Tilney and Schuyler Merritt Tilney Jefferson Fellowship at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. Her dissertation, provisionally titled After Haiti: Jeanne Duval and the Rise of Duvalian Decadence, examines how African-American, Caribbean, East Asian, South Asian, and Indigenous writer-politicians in the 19th and 20th centuries produced new versions of decadence in order to articulate anti-imperial and anti-racist perspectives. Some of her early work on these topics received the 2021 British Association for Decadence Studies Postgraduate Essay prize. In 2023, she chaired an online conference centering the role of race in the study of global decadence. Alongside her studies, she works as an Associate Editor for Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom.
Robert Pruett-Vergara is currently preparing a monograph of his thesis, Remy de Gourmont and the Crisis of Erotic Idealism, and his work investigates the interplay of erotic and philosophical discourses at the transition from Symbolism to modernism. Alongside the Cercle des Amateurs de Remy de Gourmont (CARGO), he co-organized the Fin de Siècle Symposium (Balliol College, Oxford, 2016). In 2018, he co-organized Decadence, Magic(k), and the Occult at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His chapter on ‘Dowson, France, and the Catholic Image’ appears in In Cynara’s Shadow: Collected Essays on Ernest Dowson (ed. by Alice Condé and Jessica Gossling). He holds a BA from The Evergreen State College (United States), and an MA from Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he currently serves as Reviews Editor for Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence Studies.
Established at the Gabriele d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara in 1993, the C.U.S.V.E. (Centro di Studi Vittoriani ed Edoardiani) fosters research in the field of Victorian and Edwardian studies with a focus on language and literature, history and society, visual and performing arts.
Università Iuav di Venezia
Università Iuav di Venezia was established in 1926 as one of the first architecture schools in Italy and is now an internationally leading university in the fields of architecture, design, urban and regional planning, fashion, visual arts, and theatre. Located in the heart of Venice’s historical centre, it combines tradition with a strong commitment to research and innovation.
Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation
The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation is using the French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine as an inspirational starting point for a much wider mission to champion the arts and culture. Exploring the vital role played by the arts in education, inclusion, social capital building and cultural exchange, the Foundation is also developing a new and more sustainable business model for the arts, based around earned income.
For more information, please visit the RVF website.