Contra Reed's View of Iseult

Anthony H. Harrison, Professor of English, North Carolina State University


Note 9, Chapter 5, in the author's Swinburne's Medievalism: A Study in Victorian Love Poetry which Louisiana State University Press published in 1979. It has been included in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.

Reed ignores the complex of Iseult's personal immortality in descriptions of the intangibles that compose her being. He emphasizes her transient attributes and claims that she merely ""wears the 'fiery raiment' of Love"" ("Swinburne's Tristram," 105). But, the "deep interchange / Inexplicable of glories multiform" is framed to suggest an expansive merging of the external infinitude her eyes reflect and the internal infinitude they contain. For a discussion of the craftsmanship involved in constructing the poem's "light scheme," see Fisher, "Swinburne's Tristram," 517-20.

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Last updated: June 2000