In the Key of Blue as the Culmination of a Life

John Addington Symonds was, among many other things, an extraordinarily prolific writer. In addition to various essays and poetry, he authored twenty or so books over the course of his career. This is a remarkable output considering he was not published until 1863; on average, Symonds put out a book every year and a half … Continue reading In the Key of Blue as the Culmination of a Life

“A Sort of Bible”: Symonds and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

Although John Addington Symonds’ strongest influences came from classical antiquity, he also drew substantial inspiration from books by some of his contemporaries. One noteworthy example is Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Reading Leaves of Grass was a spiritual and artistic epiphany for Symonds; the book, and his understanding of Whitman, had a great influence … Continue reading “A Sort of Bible”: Symonds and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

The Things We Do For Love: The Death of Patroclus and Achilles’ Vengeance

During his studies—almost certainly at the Harrow School, and more extensively at Balliol College, Oxford—John Addington Symonds would have read the Iliad by Homer. There is much speculation and dissent, both by ancient writers and modern scholars, about the exact nature of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus depicted by the text. At the time, … Continue reading The Things We Do For Love: The Death of Patroclus and Achilles’ Vengeance