SWINBURNE (ALGERNON CHARLES)

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Lot 160
SWINBURNE (ALGERNON CHARLES)
Sold for £ 960 (US$ 1,263) inc. premium

Lot Details
SWINBURNE (ALGERNON CHARLES)
Collection of proofs and manuscripts of his poetry, comprising (i) a manuscript of 'Cleopatra', 4 pages on paper watermarked 'Original/ Milton Mill/ Note', 8vo; (ii) page proofs of 'To a Seamew', with corrections to punctuation and subscribed by him at the end "Beachy Head,/ September 1887 [sic]", datestamped by Richard Clay & Sons (the printers Swinburne shared with Thomas J. Wise) "15 Jul. 87"; (iii) page proofs of 'The Jubilee, 1887' as printed in the June issue of The Nineteenth Century, inscribed by him to his mother "To my dearest Mimmie,/ from her affectionate son/ AC Swinburne/ May 17th 1887", with one letter corrected; (iv) page-proofs of 'The Palace of Pan (Inscribed for my Mother)', with one word altered; (v) galley proofs of 'Loch Torridon', lineated by a reader and docketed "ACS" in pencil; together with (vi) a set of unmarked page proofs for the article 'Mr Swinburne's Poetry' published in The Westminster Review, new series, xxxi, 1867, pp.450-471, in three gatherings, and (vii) Swinburne-related clippings from the Pall Mall Gazette (c.1880) and the Liverpool Mercury (10 July 1882); the collection contained in an envelope addressed to Admiral Swinburne and marked in pencil "Papers &c written by ACS", minor tears, creases, but overall in good condition, c.1866-1893

Footnotes

  • The first of these poems, 'Cleopatra', was written to accompany the picture by Frederick Sandys in the Cornhill Magazine in September 1866. A fine embodiment of late Pre-Raphaelitism at its most swooning, it has the distinction of being the subject of one of Thomas J. Wise's most audacious forgeries; one which was to cause Swinburne no little astonishment when Wise sent him a copy (see John Collins, The Two Forgers, 1992, pp.82-4). This carefully-written fair copy is in a hand with many resemblances to Swinburne's own, which suggests it might have been written by a member of his family. The second of these poems, 'To a Seamew', is generally regarded as one of the best poems of Swinburne's late period (it is, for example, selected by Catherine Maxwell for her Everyman edition of 1997, and is singled out by Rikky Rooksby in his Swinburne article in the ODNB: "Contrary to common belief, Swinburne did not 'die' as a poet in 1879... the patient reader will find poems not only very good in their own right but that show Swinburne exploring new territory. These include 'By the North Sea', 'Evening on the Broads', 'On the Cliffs', 'Thalassius', 'In Memory of John William Inchbold', 'Loch Torridon', 'To a Sea-mew'..."). The date added in manuscript by Swinburne, "Beachy Head, September 1887", is obviously a slip of the pen and in the published text has been corrected to "1886". The poem on the Jubilee of 1887 was later published in an edition of twenty-five pamphlets (but without the aid of Wise) which gives it, if nothing else, bibliographic merit. 'Loch Torridon' was collected in Astrophel and Other Poems (1894) and, like the 'Seamew', is one of his better late poems (see Rooksby's list above), containing the oft-quoted evocation: "The sea, that harbours in her heart sublime/ The supreme heart of music deep as time,/ And in her spirit strong/ The spirit of all imaginable song". The 'Palace of Pan' of 1893 was collected in A Channel Passage and Other Poems (1899), after the death of the mother to whom it was dedicated. It is included in L.M. Finlay's selection published by Carcanet in 1988. The Westminster Review article, written while the furore over Poems and Ballads was still raging, is by the young John Addington Symonds. The presumption must be that this set of proofs was sent to Swinburne by The Westminster prior to publication, and then passed on to his family.
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