Swinburne and Openness to Experience

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

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Note 1, Chapter 6, of 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.


Of course, an openness to vital and passionate experience, no matter how unorthodox, was notoriously characteristic of Swinburne himself in his younger days. His well-known interest in perverse sexuality and his ebullient activities with Rossetti and company, as well as with such eccentrics as Richard Burton and Lord Houghton, amply demonstrate Swinburne's eclectic delight in adventure for its own sake. Clearly, even after his placid "retirement" to Putney in 1879, Swinburne did not discard his fundamental belief in the need for total openness to all passionate experience.


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Last updated: June 2000