It gets four stars because the illustrations are superb, he This is an excellent short introduction to the erotic underpinnings of Art Nouveau, the design movement that introduced a faux-aristocratic decadence to the European middle classes as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. It gets four stars because the illustrations are superb, her judgements though the book ends abruptly on a weak review of homoeroticism and androgyny are fine and the text links images and texts with skill but, be warned, it is a slight book that could be read in an hour. Some of this material is very raunchy indeed. It suggests a culture that was struggling to pull itself out from under conservative traditionalism and not knowing how to do so. The mix of eroticism and misogyny is heady but you know from the beginning that it could go nowhere. Europe was not ready to be libertarian rather than pretend to be libertine.