Algernon Swinburne: The Critical Heritage

By Clyde K. Hyder | Go to book overview

ERECHTHEUS

1876


21.

John Addington Symonds, review, Academy

8 January 1876, ix, 23-4

Erechtheus was the first and indeed the only book by Swinburne that was almost unanimously praised. The review by John Addington Symonds is more knowledgeable than others, the work of a poet and man of letters who had been a special student of Greek literature, though he is now remembered chiefly for his studies in the Renaissance.

Lycurgus the orator gives the following argument of the lost tragedy of Erechtheus by Euripides:—

They say that Eumolpus, the son of Poseidon and Chione, came with the Thracians to conquer Attica; and that at that time Erechtheus, who had for wife Praxithea, the daughter of Cephisus, reigned in Athens. When, therefore, a great army was about to assault the land, the king sent to Delphi, and enquired how he might obtain a victory over his enemies. The god answered that he would win, if he slew his daughter before such time as the forces engaged in battle. This, in obedience to the oracle, he did, and drove the foemen forth from Attica.

From other sources we learn that the name of the daughter, thus sacrificed for the welfare of Athens, was Chthonia, and that two of her sisters having vowed not to survive her, slew themselves. It also appears that in the decisive battle Erechtheus killed Eumolpus with his own hand, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt from Zeus. Erechtheus was reputed to have been autochthonous, or sprung from the

-163-

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Algernon Swinburne: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Notes xlv
  • Acknowledgments l
  • Note on the Text li
  • The Queen-Mother and Rosamond 1
  • 1 - Unsigned Notice, Spectator 1
  • 2 - Unsigned Notice, Athenaeum 2
  • Some Views of the Young Swinburne 3
  • Atalanta in Calydon 9
  • 4 - Unsigned Review, Saturday Review 9
  • Chastelard 17
  • 5 - Unsigned Review, Athenaeum 17
  • Poems and Ballads 22
  • 6 - John Morley, Saturday Review 22
  • 7 - Robert Buchanan, Athenaeum 30
  • 8 - Unsigned Review, London Review 35
  • 9 - Buchanan: 'The Session of the Poets', Spectator 39
  • 10 - Henry Morley, Examiner 42
  • 11 - Swinburne Defends His Poems 49
  • 12 - W. M. Rossetti, Swinburne's Poems and Ballads 57
  • 13 - Alfred Austin: 'Mr. Swinburne' 92
  • Obiter Dicta by Contemporary Men of Letters 112
  • 14(a) - Alfred Tennyson 112
  • 14(b) - Robert Browning 114
  • 14(c) - Matthew Arnold 116
  • 14(d) - Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson 118
  • 14(e) - John Ruskin 120
  • 14(f) - William Morris 123
  • 14(g) - George Meredith 124
  • 14(h) - Edward Lytton Bulwer-Lytton 125
  • Songs Before Sunrise 127
  • 15 - Unsigned Review, Saturday Review 127
  • 16 - Unsigned Review, Edinburgh Review 133
  • 17 - Franz Hüffer, Academy 139
  • 18 - Swinburne on Robert Buchanan's Self-Revelations 146
  • 19 - A. C. Hilton: 'Octopus' 156
  • 20 - E. C. Stedman on Swinburne 158
  • Erechtheus 163
  • 21 - John Addington Symonds, Review, Academy 163
  • 22 - W. K. Clifford on Songs Before Sunrise 170
  • Poems and Ballads: Second Series 177
  • 23 - Theodore Watts, Athenaeum 177
  • 24 - Maupassant on Swinburne 185
  • 25 - F. W. H. Myers on Swinburne's Weltanschauung 188
  • 26 - George Saintsbury: 'Mr. Swinburne' 198
  • 27 - William Morton Payne: 'Algernon Charles Swinburne' 207
  • 28 - An Imaginary Correspondence 213
  • 29 - Swinburne: a Backward Glance 215
  • 30 - Oliver Elton: 'Mr. Swinburne's Poems' 218
  • 31 - Max Beerbohm: 'No. 2 the Pines' 233
  • Index 251
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