Trimer, tetramer, and pentamer oligomers based on the polymer backbone structure of poly[2-methoxy-5-(2′-ethylhexyloxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene] (MEHPPV) have been synthesized by Horner-Wadsworth-Emmons reactions. The fluorescence spectra, emission quantum yields, and lifetimes of the oligomers have been characterized in dilute chloroform solutions. The oligomers exhibit a sequential increase in absorption and emission wavelength maxima and a decrease in fluorescence lifetime as the π conjugation length is increased. The shortening in excited state lifetime is shown to be due to an increase in the rates of both radiative and nonradiative processes. The absence of a mirror-image relationship for the absorption and fluorescence spectra of the oligomers is attributed to the photoexcitation of a range of torsional configurations followed by relaxation to a more planar arrangement that then emits.