Reading for Aestheticism & Decadence: Swinburne

November 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm (Aestheticism)

Hellenistic sculpture of Hermaphrodite (Louvre)

Hellenistic sculpture of Hermaphrodite (Louvre)

Symphony in White no.2 (1864)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, The Little White Girl: Symphony in White no.2 (1864)

Simeon Solomon, Damon and Aglae (1866)

Simeon Solomon, Damon and Aglae (1866)


Dear All,

All of the poems set for this week are taken from Swinburne’s explosive debut verse volume, Poems and Ballads: First Series (1866). They can be read online at

Three of the poems refer to separate artworks (shown at the head of the post).
1.’Before the Mirror’ to James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s The Little White Girl: Symphony in White no.2 (1864) (Tate)
2.’Erotion’ to Simeon Solomon’s painting Damon and Aglae (exhib. RA 1866)
3.’Hermaphroditus’ to the Hellinistic sculpture of Hermaphrodite, also known as the Borghese Hermaphrodite (in the Louvre, where Swinburine viewed it)

I will bring copies of the essay on your reading list – Swinburne’s ‘Simeon Solomon: notes on his “Vision of Love”‘ – to class on Thursday.

I look forward to hearing your responses to these texts!



  1. Browning’s Painter Poems « The Royal Holloway Victorian MA Blog said,

    […] 27, 2008 at 10:15 am (Aestheticism) (Browning) Thought I’d follow Vicky’s example (below) and post a few images as visual context for the three Browning dramatic monologues we’ll be […]

  2. Patricia said,

    hi there, i love you hermaphrodite’s picture! did you take it yourself?! I’ve written an article on my blog and wonder if I could use it.

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