Algernon Charles Swinburne

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Swinburne, Algernon Charles


Born Apr. 5, 1837, in London; died Apr. 10, 1909, in Putney (London). English poet, playwright, and critic.

Swinburne studied at Eton and at Oxford University, where he became closely associated with D. G. Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelites. His first series of verse collections, Poems and Ballads (1866), was fiercely attacked by bourgeois conservative critics for its daring treatment of “forbidden” (erotic) themes and for its pagan hedonism. In his later works—which included tragedies, novels, and literary monographs, as well as poems— Swinburne coupled his call for moral freedom with an appeal for political freedom. In A Song of Italy (1867) and Songs Before Sunrise (1871), for example, the poet reveals himself to be a confirmed republican and enemy of the church. The theme of man’s struggle against the supreme divine will runs through his verse drama Atalanta in Calydon (1865). Swinburne’s collections of the 1870’s are marked by their romantic, pastoral, and philosophical lyrics; fatalism and the impossibility of happiness occur there, too, as themes. Swinburne reformed English prosody and imparted a special beauty of sound to his poetry. He was also the author of tragedies, dramas in verse, novels, and literary criticism.


Complete Works, vols. 1–20. London, 1925–27.
Letters, vols. 1–6. New Haven, Conn., 1959–62.
New Writings. Syracuse, N.Y., 1964.
In Russian translation:
Antología novoi angliiskoi poezii. Leningrad, 1937.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1958.
Fuller, J. O. Swinburne: A Critical Biography. London, 1968.
Swinburne: The Critical Heritage. London, 1970.
Raymond, M. R. Swinburne’s Poetics. The Hague-Paris, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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THE romantic life of Algernon Charles Swinburne continues to be mysterious.
Algernon Charles Swinburne was always the most French of Victorian poets.
The editor of the letters of Algernon Charles Swinburne and co-editor of the letters of Alfred Tennyson, he has been working diligently for more than twenty years preparing what will surely be his crowning achievement in an already distinguished career.
Buchanan's own forcefulness and moral fervor roused his contempt for Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and other of the Pre-Raphaelite poets.
THE East Sussex County Record Office has some apparently unpublished letters that provide a glimpse into the troubled life of Algernon Charles Swinburne in the late 1860s and early 1870s.
Despite its title, Algernon Charles Swinburne's inaugural 1866 collection, Poems and Ballads, contains very few ballads.
von Goethe's Pandora (which is written in choriambic dimeter) and in Algernon Charles Swinburne's Choriambics.
The Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne. New York: Macmillan, 1917.
In the final phase of my argument, I turn to Algernon Charles Swinburne's depiction of a flagellant community to explore how the ritual intensifies into mutilation, rupturing the circuit of recurrence and redrawing the possibilities of nationhood.
They appeared with regularity only after poets such as Robert Browning and Algernon Charles Swinburne successfully used the form in the 19th century.