Item 152 - Copy letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Pauline, Lady Trevelyan, 15 Mar 1865

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Copy letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Pauline, Lady Trevelyan, 15 Mar 1865


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36 Wilton Crescent, S.W. (on Wallington headed paper). - Is pleased that Lady Trevelyan likes his book ["Atalanta in Calydon"]; it was finished just after Landor's death which he much regrets. Much enjoyed the composition of the poem, which 'was very rapid and pleasant'; thinks it is 'pure Greek, and the first poem of the sort in modern times': feels that Shelley's "Prometheus [Unbound]", though 'magnificent', is 'un-Hellenic', and gathers from Lewes's life of Goethe that his "Iphigenia in Tauris" is also 'impregnated with modern morals and feeling"; also dismisses [Matthew] Arnold's "Merope". Is 'raging in silence' about the delayed publication of [Thomas] Carlyle's volumes: the subject [Frederick the Great] 'was always a hero' of Swinburne's who is impressed by his 'clear cold purity of pluck', which is not inspired by faith. Frederick seems free of 'perverse Puritan Christianity' on the one hand, and 'the knaveries and cutpurse rascalities' of the Buonapartes on the other; Swinburne can almost forgive him his bad poetry. Is very glad to hear good news of Sir Walter and the building projects; wishes she were in London for [Ford] Madox Brown's exhibition, which is 'superb'. Is currently staying at the house his father has taken in London for the winter, and is looking for rooms for himself; his father has completed the purchase of Holm Wood [Holmwood] in Oxfordshire. Feels that Tennyson should have made a better choice of his "Selections": feels that "Boadicea" should have 'served as prelude to the book'; thought Tennyson's 'volume of last summer' ["Enoch Arden"] a 'new triumph'.

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      Newcastle University: Special Collections: NRA 12238 Trevelyan: WCT 68

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      Published in Swinburne, A., Gosse, E., & Wise, T. (1918). The letters of Algernon Charles Swinburne / edited by Edmund Gosse and Thomas James Wise. London: Heinemann, p. 30 and Swinburne, A., & Lang, C. (1959). The Swinburne letters (Yale edition of the Swinburne letters). New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 114.

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