Wrıtıng Agaınst The Current Algernon Charles Swınburne’s Poetry
Ateş, Ahmet Mesut
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Algernon Charles Swinburne is an enigmatic figure in Victorian poetry. He was associated with contemporary literary movements of his age, which challenged the conventional understanding of art, including the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, French Aestheticism and emerging English Aestheticism. Swinburne devoted his poetry and critical writings to bring about a change into contemporary poetry. He developed his own theories concerning the scope of poetry and the responsibilities of the poet. His critical writings helped develop the intellectual and practical aspects of art for art's sake movement and ushered the Decadent Movement. He experimented with form and the subject matter of poetry throughout his long literary career. Through his poetry, he aimed to communicate and excite passion in the reader. Swinburne believed that poetry should be free from any external authority and able to address all aspects of human experience. He was a marginal figure in that his conception of poetry was neither didactic nor shaped by the established social norms and moral values. By forgoing the morality of his age, Swinburne shifted the focus of his poetry on concepts such as liberty, passion, and sexuality. He called the poetic tradition of his age into question and aimed to improve the standards of contemporary literary criticism. Accordingly, this thesis aims to explore the strategies and methods Swinburne employed to challenge the poetic conventions of his age along with the critical arguments he put forward so as to ascertain his contributions to contemporary aesthetic movement and Victorian poetry. Chapter I analyses features of Swinburne's poetry and his experimentation in the form of poetry in relation to his search for a new form. Chapter II examines his poetry in relation to the morality of the Victorian period in order to demonstrate Swinburne's endeavours to set poetry free from the authority of conventions. This thesis ultimately provides an insight into Swinburne's critical and poetical ambitions and his contributions to the Victorian poetry.