The Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne

By Edmund Gosse | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
ATALANTA IN CALYDON. CHASTELARD

AT the beginning of 1865 the printing of Atalanta in Calydon was completed, but there followed a long delay in connection with the binding, which D. G. Rossetti had designed. Bertram Payne, who was now responsible for the firm of Moxon, believed that the only hope of success which the poem offered lay in the beauty of its appearance, and accordingly no pains were spared to adorn the ivory-white sides of the buckram cover with mystic golden spheres. A limited number of copies, it is said one hundred, were manufactured, and the drama was at length issued towards the end of April, with no anticipations on the publisher's part. But much had changed since the fiasco of 1860. Algernon Swinburne was no longer perfectly unknown; he was the object of curiosity in a small but very active circle, and already the legend of his superhuman cleverness and superdiabolic audacity had spread beyond the limit of his acquaintances. Moreover, Algernon had now a powerful friend, who was determined that the catastrophe of The Queen Mother should not be repeated. Lord

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