Symonds’ and Travel Literature: Melville’s Typee

In 1909, 16 years after Symonds’ death, a prominent bookseller in Bristol published a catalogue of Symonds’ home library, shedding light on his literary preferences and direct influences. Our ability to partially reconstruct his lost library through the catalogue gives us the chance to understand Symonds not just as an author, but also as a … Continue reading Symonds’ and Travel Literature: Melville’s Typee

The Years 1871-1872, or Symonds’ Dantesque Pilgrimage

It was the year 1872 and Symonds was 32 years old. After falling ill with possible tuberculosis in 1868, he had returned to lecture at Clifton College, and he began preparing essays such as that comprised the Introduction to the Study of Dante (1872) and Studies of the Greek Poets (1873-1876) as resource materials for … Continue reading The Years 1871-1872, or Symonds’ Dantesque Pilgrimage

The Epic Love Story of Patroclus and Achilles

As a well-educated English literary man, John Addington Symonds had read the ancient Homeric epics in school by an early age, and it was from these stories that Symonds first learned ideas of Greek masculine love. In Homer’s Iliad, military brotherhood is an intense bond. It is only when Patroclus dies that Achilles overcome his … Continue reading The Epic Love Story of Patroclus and Achilles

Symonds’ Self-Revelation in Plato’s Ideal Masculine Greek Love

When he began to read in his youth, John Addington Symonds was mentally precocious and aware of the amorous subtleties of Greek literature; he was particularly attracted to certain male figures, like the Adonis of Shakespeare’s poems, Hermes in Homer, and the Praxitelean Cupid (Memoirs 118). In adolescence, he enjoyed sleeping visions of beautiful young men … Continue reading Symonds’ Self-Revelation in Plato’s Ideal Masculine Greek Love