Algernon Charles Swinburne

Algernon Charles Swinburne
Birth and death
1837 - 1909
Profession details
Poet, Literary Critic
Related place
Alistair Grant

Algernon Charles Swinburne, (1837-1909), poet and literary critic. Swinburne stayed with George Meredith in Copsham Cottage on the Oxshott Rd, Esher Common in 1859. They read the newly published The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám together, and Swinburne wrote 'Laus Veneris' on the Round Hill behind the cottage, an inspirational place for Meredith, which he named 'The Mound'. 'Laus Veneris' appeared in Poems and Ballads in August 1866, which sparked perhaps the greatest controversy in the history of English poetry. Swinburne's fame was assured by the publication of this small green volume of 344 pages. Besides 'Laus Veneris', Poems and Ballads contains the important poems 'Anactoria', 'Hymn to Proserpine', 'Dolores', 'Hesperia', 'Itylus', and 'The Garden of Proserpine'. "The poems espoused republicanism, fulminated against priests and kings, rejected the theology and consolations of Christianity, and celebrated decadent romantic and sexual feelings. The book was learned and cosmopolitan in outlook. It established Swinburne as not only the leading new poet of the day but an international icon for progressive thinkers. In the late 1860s and 1870s Swinburne's very name seemed a trumpet blast for those who wanted a more liberal, less puritanical society." (Rikky Rooksby, ODNB)

  • Top
  • Privacy and cookies