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Algernon Charles Swinburne : Unofficial Laureate (Paperback)

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Algernon CharlesSwinburne (18371909), dramatist, novelist, and critic, was late Victorian England's unofficial Poet Laureate. Swinburne was admired by his contemporaries for his technical brilliance, his facility with classical and medieval forms, and his courage in expressing his sensual, ****** imagination. His first and best-known verse collection, Poems and Ballads (1866), notable for its consummate craftsmanship and provocative subject matter, created an unrivalled sensation. His radical republican views as expressed in his later political collection Songs before Sunrise (1871) reinforced his reputation as a controversial figure. He was immensely important in his own day but, like several of his contemporaries, suffered neglect and misrepresentation during the first half of the twentieth century. Now, however, Swinburne is acknowledged to be one of the most important Victorian poets, the founding figure for British aestheticism, and the dominant influence for many fin-de-siècle and modernist poets. Forging a vital link between French and English literary culture, he was responsible for promoting avant-garde poets such as Gautier and Baudelaire who would have considerable impact on English decadent writers.This collection of eleven new essays offers a thorough revaluation of this fascinating and complex figure. It situates him in the light of current critical work on cosmopolitanism, politics, form, Victorian Hellenism, gender and sexuality, the arts, and aestheticism and its contested relation to literary modernism.

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