In the late Victorian era, as in every period, the realm of the aesthetic was affirmed and kept within bounds by bordering non-artistic phenomena (moral, political, commercial) considered as setting off its limits, and on which it must not encroach. What unites the diverse artists and authors currently grouped under the heading of ‘Aestheticism’ is that they sought to integrate these surroundings into their aesthetic project as well. This led to the development of expansive art projects that are commonly known as ‘Total Works of Art’, influencing even seemingly ephemeral print media such as little magazines. Late-Victorian little magazines in different ways strove towards an integration of form and content and thereby to become periodical Total Works of Art that would not be contaminated by the worldly interests that they purported to defy. However, the dichotomy between art and commerce on which it relies is ultimately untenable.
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