Swinburne and His Gods: The Roots and Growth of an Agnostic by Margot K. Louis

By Margot K. Louis

Swinburne and His Gods is the 1st severe severe research to envision the poet's history within the excessive church within the context of his paintings. Louis essentially indicates Swinburne's fierce and intimate hostility towards the church and divulges his specific inflammation with the doctrines of Newman, Keble, and Trench. In her rationalization of his poetic use of sacramental imagery, specifically these photos attached with the final Supper, Louis indicates how Swinburne's eucharists may be murderous or erotic, aesthetic or republican. The demonic parody that characterizes Swinburne's paintings is proven to have built via experimentation with neo-romantic possible choices to Christianity: first during the evocation of a quasi-sadistic pessimism, then within the embodiment of the sun-god of paintings, and, ultimately, as a feeble gesture towards an unknowable deity which strikes elusively either inside and past the flora and fauna. instead of implementing man made team spirit at the poet's occupation, Louis offers his paintings as an built-in sequence of significant and impressive experiments in Romantic paintings.

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And as the Logos represents that reasonable order which in Stoic thought is the essential structure of the universe, this anti-Logos represents the disorder and incoherence which constitute the real structure of the world (or so Swinburne seems to assume at this point). 26 The Messenger reports the objectification in deed of what has already been made explicit in words. The first half of the play consists largely of a series of confrontations, in which each character defines his or her opinions in opposition to the views of others.

For, directly or indirectly, all speech expresses the destroying power which, as we have seen, is the essential principle of Atalanta''s universe; "words divide and rend" (1203). Consider first the Chorus's description of the bond between mother and son: Nay, for the son lies close about thine heart, Full of thy milk, warm from thy womb, and drains 27 The Sacrament of Violence Life and the blood of life and all thy fruit, Eats thee and drinks thee as who breaks bread and eats, Treads wine and drinks, thyself, a sect of thee; And if he feed not, shall not thy flesh faint?

10 The implication is that our myths reveal the central truth of our experience, the disintegration which proceeds everywhere and always. We may well doubt the personality, the individual existence, of God or of gods; but there is no room for scepticism about the cruelty of life and change, the bitterness of mortality. According to Christianity, an incarnate deity has taken man's mortality upon himself to give mortals a share in immortality; the Lord's Supper reenacts or commemorates this divine sacrifice, in which the bread of life is broken and eaten.

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