Eliot and Swinburne: Idealism and Decedence

Eliot and Swinburne have been part of my consciousness for many years but for different reasons. The former I primarily knew for his Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley (his Harvard dissertation) and the for latter, my curiosity was piqued through my walking regularly past 11 Putney Hill, Sw15 on my way to Putney High Street where he died, close to where I lived. Needless to say, that a movement called the decadent movement was bound to attract my attention and I spent much time in the old British Library perusing original copies of The Yellow Book when ostensibly I was there to do other unrelated research.

The faults of style are, of course, personal; the tumultuous outcry of adjectives, the headstrong rush of undisciplined sentences, are the index to the impatience and perhaps laziness of a disorderly mind. But the style has one positive merit: it allows us to know that Swinburne was writing not to establish a critical reputation, not to instruct a docile public, but as a poet his notes upon poets whom he admired.

— Eliot, T. S. (1998). The Sacred Wood and Major Early Essays. Mineola NY: Dover Publications. p. 10.

Speaking of Eliot hat-tip to Troy Camplin for pointing me to this write-up in The Guardian.