Love and Destiny Intertwined

In his Memoirs, Symonds wrote that his “house was well stocked with engravings, photographs, copies of Italian pictures and illustrated works upon Greek sculpture” and more.  He considered “the two large folios issued by the Dilettante Society” as “among his chief favorites” (118). The Society of Dilettanti, the group of men that compiled such collections, was founded in … Continue reading Love and Destiny Intertwined

Symonds on Gothic Architecture

It is clear that John Addington Symonds was more than inundated with images of classical-style architecture from large-form sketches to more nuanced blueprint-like drawings—images like those from the Society of Dilettanti’s Ionian Antiquities. The images pictured below display conventional elements of Classical architecture: Ionic columns, measured forms that are easy to read, golden ratio proportions, … Continue reading Symonds on Gothic Architecture

Apollo: From the Page to the Mind of J. A. Symonds

John Addington Symonds was exposed to classical Greco-Roman art through the large illustrated folios in the library in his childhood home in Clifton. In his Memoirs, Symonds recalls that his house “was well stocked with engravings, photographs, copies of Italian pictures, and illustrated works upon Greek sculpture.” (118). From this large collection, Symonds mentions that … Continue reading Apollo: From the Page to the Mind of J. A. Symonds

Symonds and Vernon Lee’s Belcaro: A polite disagreement

A quick author’s note first: for the three blog posts I have written so far, I started by looking at Symonds’ memoirs, then his letters, to search for evidence linking him with to the book/image/author in question. I would then read the source. I decided to try a different approach this time. I picked a … Continue reading Symonds and Vernon Lee’s Belcaro: A polite disagreement

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

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