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Whose muse? Sappho, Swinburne and Amy Lowell

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posted on 05.10.2016 by Sarah Parker
Swinburne’s influence on a number of modernist writers has been remarked upon in several relatively recent critical studies. For example, the modernist poets H. D. and T. S. Eliot provide the focus for comparative studies by Cassandra Laity (1996) and Thaïs. E. Morgan (1993). In this essay, I propose that the American modernist poet Amy Lowell (1874-1925) should be included in this list, arguing that her work exhibits a number of similarities to Swinburne’s poetry. These similarities stem from Swinburne and Lowell’s shared understanding of Sappho as an important poetic precursor, muse figure, and homoerotic archetype. I argue that Sappho’s influence on Swinburne and Lowell is instrumental in creating an anxiety that subsequent readers and critics ‘ward off’ by ‘forgetting’ their poetic corpuses. This results in the devaluation and neglect of both poets despite their considerable contributions to poetry.

History

School

  • The Arts, English and Drama

Department

  • English and Drama

Published in

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Pages

193 - 212

Citation

PARKER, S., 2013. Whose muse? Sappho, Swinburne and Amy Lowell. IN: Maxwell, C. and Evangelista, F. (eds.). Algernon Charles Swinburne: unofficial laureate. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.193-212.

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2013

ISBN

071909996X;9780719099960;0719086256;9780719086250

Language

en

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