Course Schedule

Please note:  For many of our assigned readings, reading questions will be posted under the “Reading questions” tab on our blog. These are meant as assistance to you only, to help steer your reading and thinking as you prepare for class. You do not have to answer any of these questions in writing (although they may certainly inspire your blog posts), but they will give you an indication of the focus of our in-class discussions.

Week 1                       

Monday, Jan. 6        

Introduction to course.  Readings: Wilde, “Hélas!” (p. 864, also as class handout); Baudelaire, “Correspondances” (p. 18 f., handout); Walter Pater, Conclusion to Studies in the History of the Renaissance  (handout)

Homework for first day:

Sign into and explore our class blog. Also sign up for Twitter account at if you don’t have one.  If you are on Facebook, please “Like” the “Oscar Wilde and the French Decadents” Facebook page to stay in touch there as well.

Wednesday, Jan. 8  

Baudelaire, selections from Les Fleurs du Mal:  “’I love the thought …’” (pp. 18-21),  “The Sick Muse” (24 f.), “The Venal Muse” (26 f.), “The Enemy” (28 f.), “Ill Fortune” (28-31), “Beauty” (38 f.), “The Ideal” (38-41), “The Giantess” (40 f.), “Hymn to Beauty” (44 f.), “The Swan” (172-77), “The Metamorphoses of the Vampire” (252-55), “A Voyage to Cythera” (254-59), “The Death of Lovers” (276-77), “The Death of Artists” (278 f.)

Week 2

Monday, Jan. 13    

Wilde, “The Harlot’s House” (p. 867), “Phèdre: To Sarah Bernhardt” (835), “Impression du Matin” (862), “Hélas!” (864), “Symphony in Yellow” (872), “La Dame Jaune” (873), “Remorse” (873)

Wednesday, Jan. 15            “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime” (160-183); Jean Lorrain, “The Man Who Made Wax Heads” and “The Unknown Lady” (pdfs on

Week 3

Monday,  Jan. 20              Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday—no class

Wednesday, Jan. 22            Rachilde, Monsieur Venus, chapters 1 to 10 (pp. 1-131)  [Online presenter: DLJ]

Week 4

Monday, Jan. 27            Rachilde, Monsieur Venus, chapters 11 to end (pp. 131-210)

(Please note: in the following four sessions we’ll do an interlaced, comparative reading of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray together with Huysmans’ Against Nature.)

Wednesday, Jan. 29             Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Preface to (and including) chapter 11 (pp. 17-109)    [Online presenter: NC]

Week 5

Monday, Feb. 3                        Huysmans, Against Nature Prologue and chapters 1-10 (pp. 3-102)  [Online presenters: FB, TQ]

Wednesday, Feb. 5            Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, chapter 11 to end  (pp. 110-159)   [Online presenter: AU]

Week 6

Monday, Feb. 10            Huysmans, Against Nature, chapter 11 to end (pp. 103-181)

Wednesday, Feb. 12            Wilde, “Pen, Pencil, and Poison” (pp. 1093-1107), possible other readings TBA   [Online presenter: MS]

 Week 7

Monday, Feb. 17            Presidents’ Holiday—no class

Wednesday, Feb. 19            Flaubert, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, parts I to IV (pp. 9-115)   [Online Presenters: SZ, ME]

Week 8

Monday, Feb. 24            Flaubert, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, V to end (pp. 116-191)    [Online presenter: EP]

Wednesday, Feb. 26       Wilde, Salomé (pp.583-605) and La Sainte Courtisane (pp. 734-38) [Online presenters: BPB, MJL]

In advance of class, please also watch the Powerpoint presentation on Salome in visual art, which will be posted on

Week 9           

Monday, March 3   

Stéphane Mallarmé, “The Windows/Les Les fenêtres,” “Apparition” and “The Azure”/”L’Azur”; excerpt from “Crisis in Poetry” (pdfs on ; class handout “Hérodiade” [we will read this handout together in class]    [Online presenter NDS]

Wednesday, March 5            Wilde, “The Artist” (900); “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”; excerpts from De Profundis  [Online presenter: SP]

Week 10

Monday, March 10            Cantor Arts Center visit: Aestheticism, Symbolism, Decadence in Art

Wednesday, March 12            Final papers/digital projects workshop; class celebration

Week 11 (Exam week)

Monday, March 17       

Final paper (by email to or digital projects (uploaded online on due any time before midnight tonight.  Good luck!

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