By Margot K. Louis
Swinburne and His Gods is the 1st critical serious research to ascertain the poet's heritage within the excessive church within the context of his paintings. Louis basically indicates Swinburne's fierce and intimate hostility towards the church and divulges his specific inflammation with the doctrines of Newman, Keble, and Trench. In her clarification of his poetic use of sacramental imagery, particularly these photographs hooked up with the final Supper, Louis exhibits how Swinburne's eucharists should be murderous or erotic, aesthetic or republican. The demonic parody that characterizes Swinburne's paintings is proven to have built via experimentation with neo-romantic possible choices to Christianity: first throughout the evocation of a quasi-sadistic pessimism, then within the embodiment of the sun-god of paintings, and, ultimately, as a feeble gesture towards an unknowable deity which strikes elusively either inside and past the flora and fauna. instead of enforcing man made cohesion at the poet's profession, Louis provides his paintings as an built-in sequence of great and remarkable experiments in Romantic paintings.
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Extra info for Swinburne and His Gods: The Roots and Growth of an Agnostic Poetry
19 Demonic Parody and the Great Whore What sense, what spirit, that was not given of her, Or what significance or shape of life Their act or purpose, formless else and void, Save as her will and present force of her Gave breath to them and likeness? (73:183-8) In this important passage, Mary appears at first as a Berkeleian divine mind, containing her lovers as the mind contains its passing thoughts. But this model of God's creation is promptly replaced by one more likely to be familiar to Knox: the model of the creator ex nihilo who appears in Genesis - who makes man in his likeness, and gives him breath.
In a sense, any meaningful sentence is a Hegelian synthesis. Yet there is nothing in Atalanta to suggest that language makes it possible for us to triumph in any way over the contradictions about us and within us, the universe that Mathews has described as "an almost Hegelian world of thesis and antithesis, where synthesis is never reached" (48, 35). Althaea, whose mastery over words is generally acknowledged (569-77), falls into silence; Meleager's language collapses into nonsense; Atalanta and the Chorus take refuge in a laconic impersonality (2310-17).
As there are "moans" in the "bridal measure" (1067), so in the only cheerful choruses are references to "Orion overthrown" (1465), to the arrows of Artemis (73), to feeding and crushing and pursuing (97; 103; 65, 105-20). In a temporal world anticipation and memory darken the happiest songs and the brightest months; "Spring shall be ruined with the rain" (131), and the singing-bird is only "half assuaged" for the slaughtered child (69-70). In a world of aggression and flight, language provides a treacherous weapon (931), an instrument of self-destruction (1029-30, 1201-2).
Swinburne and His Gods: The Roots and Growth of an Agnostic Poetry by Margot K. Louis