The underlying characteristics of Algernon Swinburne's Arthurian poetry are similar to those found in his other works. Although many of his poems are stylistically innovative, what are most striking in his works, as opposed to those of other Victorian Arthurian poets, are ideological views that constitute a rebellion against "the limited and limiting moral, political, and religious values of his own historical era" ( A. Harrison 2). Apparently attempting to reflect his opinions in a manner less offensive to Victorian readers, Swinburne often adopted a poetic stance outside his historical moment.
Having spent many childhood hours examining medieval manuscripts in the library of his uncle (the Earl of Ashburnham), Swinburne was a medieval scholar well before he met Rossetti and Morris at Oxford. The poet had studied enough to understand the concepts of medieval Christianity, yet as an avowed and iconoclastic atheist, he consistently developed medieval characters who are misguided in their adherence to Christian values or who trust in Love and Fate as supreme deities.
Although Swinburne wrote on many medieval topics, only seven of his poems are purely Arthurian. Rather than compose an entire Arthurian cycle like Tennyson, Swinburne concentrated on the Arthurian characters and situations that could best reflect his particular philosophy: "If he had planned a complete Arthurian cycle, he probably abandoned the idea because much of the