Pallas Athene £16.99 (404pp) £15.29 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography, By Matthew Sturgis
A perfect match for Beardsley's art in its precision, sureness and sly humour, this closely observed account displays a characteristic combination of wit and accuracy in the second sentence: "As Oscar Wilde remarked, with more poetic truth than botanical accuracy, he 'died at the age of a flower'."
Surprisingly, Beardsley's wonderfully exotic, thrillingly suggestive art emerged from a deeply conventional, if slightly seedy childhood.
Impressively researched by Sturgis, the story gains momentum as the artist, haunted by tuberculosis, obsessively pursues his febrile visions.
Decked out in the distinctive hue of the literary periodical The Yellow Book, which made Beardsley a celebrity, this is a most welcome re-issue.
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