Books: Satan's Fra Angelica

BEARDSLEY by Stanley Weinfraub. 285 pages. Braziller. $6.

Aubrey Beardsley was so extravagantly foppish, so precious in his speech and so languid in his posturings that Oscar Wilde claimed him as his own invention. In fact, Beardsley had invented himself. He deliberately set out to create his reputation for decadent eccentricity, and his extraordinary style was a clear forerunner of art nouveau.

The big Beardsley revival, in exhibitions, reprints of his works, and books, is explained partly by the fact that he is admired by the practitioners of "psychedelic art," most of whom imitate...

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