Swinburne, Algernon Charles (and Randolph Hughes)
Title Lesbia Brandon; [together with] an historical and critical commentary [by Randolph Hughes] being largely a study (and elevation) of Swinburne as a novelist
Book Condition Good in Good dj
Edition First Edition
Publisher London The Falcon Press 1952
Seller ID 22454
[foxing to edges of text block, offsetting to endpapers, moderate shelfwear, light spotting to covers; jacket has old tape reinforcements/repairs at all corners, and has also been laminated (on top of the tape repairs!)]. This fat book (583 pages) "is a twofold volume: it contains a novel by Swinburne, the most important of his numerous unpublished writings, and a book by Mr. Randolph Hughes which is a study of this work and also of Swinburne as a novelist in general, in which capacity he is virtually unknown." Per Wikipedia, Swinburne (1837-1909), better known for his poetry, verse drama, and criticism, was "obsessed with lesbianism." According to Jeannette Foster in her study "Sex Variant Women in Literature," this work (on which Swinburne toiled during much of the 1860s) wasn't even intended to be a novel per se, but rather a "narrative in mixed prose and verse" which was edited for publication by Langdon (Randolph?) Hughes, working from a manuscript and galley proof that had spent "a half-century in the possession of the notorious rare-book dealer and literary forger, Thomas Wise" before making its way into the British Museum. I've seen the novel described as "pornographic," and by Victorian standards it probably is: the eponymous protagonist character commits "slow suicide by opium," and the book contains another character, Leonora Harley, "a beautiful but vulgar and stupid demi-mondaine" allegedly based on Adah Isaacs Menken. However, the suggestive title aside, Swinburne's plan to "incorporate a lesbian element in the story" was apparently never realized. Foster concludes her analysis by observing that Swinburne "worshipped the repressed, intense and melancholy Lesbia, and despised Leonora, the bisexual wanton."
Victorian Literature Lesbianism Drug Addiction