Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

LeeAnne Richardson

Second Advisor

Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Tanya Caldwell


This project follows the life of the late-Victorian poet John Gray, who was born into lower-middle class poverty in London. Gray educated himself, rising from clerical positions with the Post Office and the Foreign Office, before meeting Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, who published his early work, and designed the seminal book of fin de siècle verse Silverpoints, for which Gray earned the epithet le plus decadent des decadents. This project considers the ways in which Gray’s associations with Ricketts and Shannon, along with Oscar Wilde, André Raffalovich and the aunt and niece couple writing as Michael Field impacted his life, from the publication of his early decadent poetry, to his renunciation of the London demimonde, to eventual ordination in the Roman Catholic Church. It demonstrates the ways in which Gray’s aesthetic merely changed focus, and how his life was ruled by aesthetics, homoeroticism and Catholicism.


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