Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

Algernon Charles Swinburne was born in London, the son of an admiral, and grew up on the Isle of Wight. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, leaving without a degree.

He first came to public attention with the play Atalanta in Calydon (1865) but it was the publication of the irreverent Poems and Ballads the following year which brought him a mixture of controversy and acclaim. Thereafter he wrote prolifically, publishing a more toned-down Poems and Ballads: Second Series in 1878 and several prose works. He was rescued from alcohol addiction in 1879 by his friend Theodore Watts Dunton, at his home under his control in Putney for the rest of his life.

His latter years were highly productive and he produced Tristam of Lyonesse (1882), Poems and Ballads: Third Series (1889), and several verse plays. He was also an incisive literary critic, whose subjects included Baudelaire, Blake, Hugo, Webster, Shakespeare, Byron, the Brontës, and Dickens.

Chorus from 'Atalanta'
Ave atque Vale

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