Quiller-Couch on Swinburne’s Hellenism (Rutland, 1931)

1.158. William R. Rutland, Swinburne: A Nineteenth Century Hellene, with Some Reflections on the Hellenism of Modern Poets, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1931), p.154. BL 10823.dd.3

Extract from William Rutland, Swinburne: A Nineteenth Century Hellene (1931).

In this extract from Rutland’s book, he quotes Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, writing in April 1917, on Swinburne’s Hellenism. Quiller-Couch’s identification of the importance of this tradition to England has a bearing on Mulligan’s desire to Hellenise Ireland. Rutland begins by noting the tendency of some critics to claim Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon as Hellenic “chiefly upon grounds of form”:

And it was probably on similar considerations that Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, reviewing Gosse’s Life of Swinburne in the Edinburgh Review wrote the following words so very characteristic of their author on the subject of Atalanta: “Here was writing truly Hellenic, of the right line of tradition, and we should despair of the future of our literature — watered as it has ever been and renewed from Mediterranean springs — if we believed that England would soon lack men ready to recognise that, to hail and salute it.”

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