Arthur Symons, a contemporary literary critic, remarks:

The novel's protagonist, des Esseintes, has acquired Moreau's painting, considering it to incarnate the very spirit of decadence; it is one of the few works of art which send him into raptures of delight.

He removes her from time in declining to give precise indication of race, country, or epoch ...

“stunning line-up in time between the sudden warming of 9645 BC, Emiliani’s scenario of a massive freshwater flood pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, and the date Plato ascribed to the sinking of Atlantis.”


Lord Alfred Douglas wrote, shortly after reading the play:

Two other sources for Wilde's treatment of the Salome legend deserve to be mentioned.

On the other hand it is also perfectly possible that Hoyle will be vindicated and that comet impacts are implicated not only at the beginning but also at the end of the cold episode.


": Wilde's Radical Tragedy," in: , ed.

The Greenland ice cores, those invaluable windows into the past, tell us that ‘temperatures rose in less than a decade at the climate transition marking the end of the Younger Dryas cold interval and the beginning of the warmer Holocene epoch 11,600 years before the present.’ “In less than 20 years, the climate in the North Atlantic region turned into a milder and less stormy regime, as a consequence of a rapid retreat of sea-ice cover. A warming of 7 degrees Centigrade was completed in about 50 years.”

Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe Ltd., 1994.

“The difference between a warm ocean and a cold one amounts to a 10-year supply of sunlight. Thus, the warm conditions produced by a strong water vapour greenhouse must be maintained for at least a decade in order to produce the required transformation of the ocean, and this is just about the time for which water, suddenly thrown into the stratosphere, might be expected to persist there. The needed amount of water is so vast, 100 million million tons, that only one kind of causative event seems possible, the infall of a comet-sized object into a major ocean.’

Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.

Professor Robert Schoch of Boston University prefers the date of 9700 BC – 11,700 years ago – for the sudden warming and flooding at the end of the Younger Dryas but agrees that this event was extremely abrupt. Indeed:

"Overtures to Wilde's ," in: , ed.

With this warning that an ancient enemy poses a real and present danger to the near and immediate future of civilization, let us return to the Younger Dryas and the possibility, after the first encounter 12,800 years ago, that the earth interacted for a second time with some large and dangerous comet fragments orbiting in the Taurid stream. On this hypothetical second occasion, however, the scenario proposed by the astronomers suggests that the primary impacts were not on land, or onto ice, but into the world’s oceans throwing up vast plumes of water vapour and creating a “greenhouse effect” that caused global warming rather than global cooling.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

“Tentative orbital parameters which could lead to its observation are estimated. It is predicted that in the near future (around the year 2030) the Earth will cross again that part of [the Taurid meteor stream] that contains the fragments, an encounter that in the past has dramatically affected mankind.”