Journal Article

Swinburne's Returns: The Endurance of Writing in <i>Poems and Ballads, Second Series</i> (1878)

Francis O'Gorman

in The Cambridge Quarterly

Published on behalf of Cambridge Quarterly

Volume 33, issue 3, pages 197-216
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0008-199X
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1471-6836 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/camqtly/33.3.197
Swinburne's Returns: The Endurance of Writing in Poems and Ballads, Second Series (1878)

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This essay analyses the imaginative shapes of Swinburne's conceptions of permanence achieved through writing, chiefly in Poems and Ballads, Second Series (1878). Swinburne's ideas about this are unsettled, anxious, and subject to change. But the poetry under consideration here, creatively processing notions of literary survival beyond the grave, is not that which Robert Browning criticised as offering the minimum of thought in the maximum of words, but writing that articulates with exceptional refinement the contours of complex thinking. The essay considers the endurance of poetry as a source of hope, but also the troubling consequences of dealing with the legacy of others and even one's own.

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Subjects: Literature ; Art ; Film ; Music

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