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Lot #498
Algernon Swinburne

On the republication of his controversial Christmas Antiphones

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On the republication of his controversial Christmas Antiphones

Important Victorian British poet (1837–1909) whose “decadent” subject matter (including sadomasochism and lesbianism) made him one of the most controversial literary figures of his day. ALS signed “Al. Swinburne,” one page, 4.5 x 7, January 11, 1881. Swinburne writes to English poet and religious writer Rev. F. Langbridge in Limerick. In full: “I have taken measures to get your letter to Mr. Morris [probably writer, artist, and book designer William]. I should not wish any one of my Christmas Antiphones to appear separately from the others; & I presume you would hardly wish to reprint the three as they stand.” While the first of Swinburne’s three long Christmas Antiphones may pass as vaguely Christian, the others were much more sadomasochistic and pessimistic, leading Swinburne to surmise that Langbridge would “hardly wish to represent the three as they stand.” Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed in Swinburne’s hand, bearing color-embossed one-penny postage and a postmark of January 12, 1882 (indicating that the 1881 date in the letter is a typical New Year slip-up). A few minor scattered spots of foxing, otherwise fine condition. RRAuction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #344 - Ended April 15, 2009