Algernon Charles Swinburne

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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.
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94; Ezra Pound, "Swinburne versus Biographers," review of The Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne, by Edmund Gosse, Poetry 11, no.
9 Mary Disney-Leith, The Boyhood of Algernon Charles Swinburne (London, 1917), 4-5.
1) Algernon Charles Swinburne, "Dedicatory Epistle," in The Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne, vol.
They appeared with regularity only after poets such as Robert Browning and Algernon Charles Swinburne successfully used the form in the 19th century.
42); among the later poets touched upon in "Evolution, faith and nature in Victorian poetry" are Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Meredith, Lewis Morris, Christina Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Tennyson, and James Thomson; finally, "Evolution, politics and society: Social Darwinism in Victorian poetry" briefly surveys engagements with Herbert Spencer and others in selected poems by Robert Bridges, Wilfred Seawen Blunt, May Kendall, Meredith, Constance Naden, William Michael Rossetti, Swinburne, and Tennyson.
French poetic forms--envois have also been used by several English poets, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Robert Southey, and Algernon Charles Swinburne.
2014 saw the publication of the first monograph devoted to Algernon Charles Swinburne to appear in many years; Yisrael Levin's Swinburne's Apollo: Myth, Faith, and Victorian Spirituality (Ashgate).
He published the pioneer Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats (1848), secured a pension for Tennyson, made the American sage Ralph Waldo Emerson known in England, and was an early champion of the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.
Swinburne, Poems and Ballads, Second Series, The Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne in Six Volumes, vol.
The astonishing range of his translations included the complete works of William Shakespeare, Aeschylus, and Euripides, as well as works by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Algernon Charles Swinburne, William Blake, Robert Browning, and William Butler Yeats.
8) Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Complete Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne, ed.
The shocking subject matter and vivid imagery of Morris' first volume were further developed by Algernon Charles Swinburne in Atalanta in Calydon (1865) and Poems and Ballads (1866).