Decadence eludes definition, but critics tend to concur on the movement’s transgressive and uncommercial status in the British literary field. This essay questions those associations by exploring a current of archetypal decadent French novels translated by and marketed to a mainstream Anglophone audience: Joris-Karl Huysmans’s En Route (1895, trans. 1896) and La cathédrale (1898, trans. 1898) and Pierre Louÿs’s Aphrodite: Mœurs antiques (1896, trans. 1900 and 1906) and La femme et le pantin (1898, trans. 1908). By reading letters, memoirs, and prefaces alongside periodical reviews and a publisher’s archive, the essay sheds light on the novels’ invisible translators and reveals the fiscal and legal viability of “domesticated decadence.” Doing so models how translation studies and book-historical methods can revise deep-set tenets of literary history. These “poisonous” epitomes of the fin de siècle in fact circulated freely across the Channel, reaching more than the happy few.

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