Saturday, June 14, 2014

when Dodgson met Swinburne

Carroll would sometimes visit his artist friends in their studios and see them at work, but his diary is so laconic about them that his liberal-mindedness has often gone unremarked. In April 1865, for instance, he recorded a visit to Dante Gabriel Rossetti thus: 'We call on Rossetti. We found him at home, and his friend Swinburne also in the room, whom I had not met before. He showed us many beautiful pictures, two quite new, the bride going to met the bride-groom (from Solomon's Song), and Venus with a back-ground of roses.' The critic Hugues Lebailly has pointed out that one of the pictures Carroll admired during the visit was Rossetti's Venus Verticordia, the eroticism of which made it difficult for Rossetti to sell. Carroll does not tell us what he made of the scandalous Swinburne, but he did go out and buy a first edition of his notorious Poems and Ballads.

- Jenny Woolf, The Mystery of Lewis Carroll 

She hath the apple in her hand for thee....