When fluorescence from electronically excited states follows the absorption of radiation, the emission spectrum is often a key to identification of the excited species. It now emerges that passing off-resonant laser light through such an electronically excited system may enhance or suppress the fluorescent emission. This report establishes the mechanism and theory for this optical control of spontaneous fluorescence, derived by quantum electrodynamical analysis. Experimental techniques to detect the enhanced signal are also proposed. © 2009 American Chemical Society.