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Encyclopedia > Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Swinburne, detail of his portrait by Rossetti

Algernon Charles Swinburne (April 5, 1837April 10, 1909) was a Victorian era English poet. His poetry was highly controversial in its day, much of it containing recurring themes of sadomasochism, death-wish, lesbianism and irreligion. ImageMetadata File history File links Swinburne. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Swinburne. ... Dante Gabriel Rossetti (May 12, 1828 - April 10, 1882) was an English poet, painter and translator. ... April 5 is the 95th day of the year (96th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1837 - 1901) 1837 (MDCCCXXXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her accession to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British Industrial Revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the  United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total 130... The Chinese poem Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain by Emperor Gaozong (Song Dynasty) Poetry (from the Greek , poiesis, a making or creating) is a form of art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its ostensible meaning. ... Flogging demonstration at Folsom Street Fair 2004. ... A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted only to other women. ... This section does not cite its references or sources. ...



Swinburne was born in London, and raised on the Isle of Wight, and at Capheaton Hall, near Wallington, Northumberland. He attended Eton college and then Balliol College, Oxford but had the rare distinction (like Oscar Wilde) of being rusticated from the university in 1859. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and counted among his best friends Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Isle of Wight is an English island and county, off the southern English coast, to the south of the county of Hampshire. ... Capheaton Hall, near Wallington, Northumberland, is an English country house, the seat of the Swinburne Baronets and the childhood home of the poet Algernon Swinburne. ... Wallington Hall is a country house and gardens located 18. ... Northumberland is a county in the North East of England. ... The Kings College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor, commonly known as Eton College or just Eton, is a public school (privately funded and independent) for boys, founded in 1440 by King Henry VI. It is located in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor in England, situated north of Windsor... College name Balliol College Named after John de Balliol Established 1263 Sister College St Johns Master Andrew Graham JCR President Jack Hawkins Undergraduates 403 MCR President Chelsea Payne Graduates 228 Homepage Boatclub Balliol College, founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in... Oscar Fingal OFlahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. ... Rustication is a term used at British universities, particularly Oxford University and Cambridge University, for a disciplinary action consisting of a temporary expulsion from the university. ... The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. ... Dante Gabriel Rossetti (May 12, 1828 - April 10, 1882) was an English poet, painter and translator. ...

He is considered a decadent poet, although he perhaps professed to more vice than he actually indulged in, a fact which Oscar Wilde famously and acerbically commented upon. In 19th century European and especially French literature, decadence was the name given, first by hostile critics, and then triumphantly adopted by some writers themselves, to a number of late nineteenth century fin de siècle writers who were associated with Symbolism or the Aesthetic movement and who relished artifice... Oscar Fingal OFlahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer. ...

Many of his early and still admired poems evoke the Victorian fascination with the Middle Ages, and some of them are explicitly medieval in style, tone and construction, including "The Leper," "Laus Veneris," and "St Dorothy". The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Medieval is most commonly known in relation to the Middle Ages of Europen history. ...

He was an alcoholic and algolagniac, and a highly excitable character. His health suffered as a result, until he finally had a mental and physical breakdown and was taken into care by his friend Theodore Watts, who looked after him for the rest of his life in Putney. Thereafter he lost his youthful rebelliousness and developed into a figure of social respectability. Alcoholism is the consumption of, or preoccupation with, alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the drinkers normal personal, family, social, or work life, and may lead to physical or mental harm. ... Theodore Watts-Dunton (October 12, 1832 - June 6, 1914) was an English critic and poet. ... Putney is a district of south-west London in the London Borough of Wandsworth. ...

His mastery of vocabulary, rhyme and metre arguably put him among the most talented English language poets in history, although he has also been criticized for his florid style and word choices that only fit the rhyme scheme rather than contributing to the meaning of the piece. He is the virtual star of the third volume of George Saintsbury's famous History of English Prosody, and A. E. Housman, a more measured and even somewhat hostile critic, devoted paragraphs of praise to his rhyming ability. A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ... A rhyme is a repetition of identical or similar terminal sounds in two or more different words (i. ... Meter (British English spelling: metre) describes the linguistic sound patterns of a verse. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... George Edward Bateman Saintsbury (October 23, 1845 - 1933), was an English writer and critic. ... Alfred Edward Housman (March 26, 1859 – April 30, 1936), usually known as A.E. Housman, was an English poet and classical scholar, now best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. ...

Swinburne's work was once quite popular among undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, though today it has largely gone out of fashion. This largely mirrors the popular and academic consensus regarding his work as well, although his Poems and Ballads, First Series and his Atalanta in Calydon have never been out of critical favor. The University of Oxford (usually abbreviated as Oxon. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ...

It was Swinburne's misfortune that the two works, published when he was nearly 30, soon established him as England's premier poet, the successor to Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning. This was a position he held in the popular mind until his death, but sophisticated critics like A. E. Housman felt, rightly or wrongly, that the job of being one of England's very greatest poets was beyond him. Swinburne may have felt this way himself. He was a highly intelligent man and in later life a much-respected critic, and he himself believed that the older a man was, the more cynical and less trustworthy he became. This of course created problems for him as he aged. Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (August 6, 1809 - October 6, 1892) is generally regarded as one of the greatest English poets. ... Robert Browning (May 7, 1812 – December 12, 1889) was a British poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. ... Alfred Edward Housman (March 26, 1859 – April 30, 1936), usually known as A.E. Housman, was an English poet and classical scholar, now best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. ...

After the first Poems and Ballads, Swinburne's later poetry is devoted more to philosophy and politics (notably, in favour of the unification of Italy, particularly in the volume Songs before Sunrise). He does not stop writing love poetry entirely, but the content is much less shocking. His versification, and especially his rhyming technique, remain in top form to the end. Songs before Sunrise is a collection of poems relating to Italy, and particularly its unification, by Algernon Charles Swinburne. ...

Works include: Atalanta in Calydon, Tristram of Lyonesse, Poems and Ballads (series I, II and III -- these contain most of his more controversial works), Songs Before Sunrise, and Lesbia Brandon (published posthumously).

T.S. Eliot, reading Swinburne's essays on the Shakespearean and Jonsonian dramatists in The Contemporaries of Shakespeare and The Age of Shakespeare and Swinburne's books on Shakespeare and Jonson, found that as a poet writing notes on poets, he had mastered his material and was "a more reliable guide to them than Hazlitt, Coleridge, or Lamb," Swinburne's three Romantic predecessors, though he characterized Swinburne's prose as "the tumultuous outcry of adjectives, the headstrong rush of undisciplined sentences, are the index to the impatience and perhaps laziness of a disorderly mind." Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965), was a major Modernist Anglo-American poet, dramatist, and literary critic. ... William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830) was an English writer remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, often esteemed the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson. ... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (October 21, 1772 – July 25, 1834) (pronounced ) was an English poet, critic, and philosopher who was, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. ... Charles Lamb (1775-1834) Charles Lamb (10 February 1775 –- 27 December 1834) was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the childrens book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced along with his sister, Mary Lamb (1764–1847). ...

Some of his poems:

Hymn to Proserpine is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in 1866. ... The Triumph of Time is a poem by Algernon Swinburne, published in 1866. ... Dolores (Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs) is a poem by A. C. Swinburne first published in his 1866 Poems and Ballads. ...

Further reading

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Wikisource has original works written by or about:

A modern study of his religious attitudes: Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is a sister project of Wikipedia, using the same MediaWiki software. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ...

  • Margot Kathleen Louis, Swinburne and His Gods: the Roots and Growth of an Agnostic Poetry ISBN 0-7735-0715-9
  • Jerome McGann, Swinburne: An Experiment in Criticism (1972) initiated modern Swinburne criticism.


  • Ernest Wheldrake was a fictional character invented by Swinburne, who reviewed imaginary works by him. This was as a satire on the spasmodic poets. Wheldrake is also a character used by Michael Moorcock in his fiction.
  • "A Cameo," a sonnet by Swinburne, is quoted by Gouvernail in the grand dinner scene of Kate Chopin's novella The Awakening. "There was a graven image of Desire/Painted with red blood on a ground of gold."
  • Swinburne's poem, "The Oblation" is quoted by the character Buck Mulligan in James Joyce's Ulysses. Buck Mulligan jestingly quotes it to the milk woman as he pays her. "Ask nothing more of me, sweet./All I can give you I give."
  • The Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth, on their 2004 album Demigod, cite Swinburne's poem "Atalanta in Calydon" as the source for the lyrics to the track "Before the Æons Came".[1]. The poem is known for its dystheistic outlook, appropriate to the musical style.
  • His life was used as an "exam question" for the discussion of the influence of Despair in Neil Gaiman's Endless Nights.

The term spasmodic, certainly with some derogatory as well as humorous intention, was applied by William Edmonstoune Aytoun to a group of British poets of the Victorian era. ... Michael John Moorcock (born December 18, 1939, in London, England) is a prolific English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels. ... Kate Chopin (born Katherine OFlaherty on February 8, 1850 – August 22, 1904), was an American author of short stories and novels, mostly of a Louisiana Creole background. ... The Awakening is the name of an 1899 novel by Kate Chopin and a 1980 sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. ... James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (Irish Séamus Seoighe; 2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish expatriate writer, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. ... Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. ... Death metal is a heavy metal subgenre. ... Behemoth is an influential Polish blackened death metal band. ... Demigod is an album released in 2004 by Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth. ... Dystheism is the belief that God does exist but is not wholly good, or that he might even be evil. ... The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry (est. ... The Sandman: Endless Nights is a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman as a follow-up (but not a sequel) to his ground-breaking Sandman series. ...


External links

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  Results from FactBites:
Algernon Swinburne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (634 words)
Algernon Charles Swinburne (April 5, 1837 – April 10, 1909) was a Victorian era English poet.
It was Swinburne's misfortune that the two works, published when he was nearly 30, soon established him as England's premier poet, the successor to Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning.
Swinburne may have been one of the first people not to trust anyone over thirty.
Literary Encyclopedia: Swinburne, Algernon Charles (3104 words)
Algernon Charles Swinburne was born on 5 April 1837 in London.
Swinburne's magnificent variety of metres and aural effects, and his conspicuous anthropological and classical erudition, could hardly be denied; but critical resistance to his vision and choice of topics then and since has deterred many readers from engaging with his work deeply and recognizing the clarity and complexity of his thought.
Swinburne was extremely ill of alcoholic dysentery when his friend of seven years, the solicitor Theodore Watts, took Swinburne to his own home in Putney (a suburb of London) and then to Swinburne's mother at Holmwood.
  More results at FactBites »



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