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

Symonds’ Italian Byways: Connection Through Time

If there is a theme that could perhaps define Symonds’ academic career, outside of Classic Greek literature, a case could certainly be made for his attachment and fascination toward Italy, something that can be gleaned by inference, looking at his catalog of work and his personal library. With one of the main pillars of the … Continue reading Symonds’ Italian Byways: Connection Through Time

Book It! (Part 2 – John Addington Symonds’ Studies of the Greek Poets)

It seems almost presumptuous for me to try and write a blog post on Symonds’ Studies of the Greek Poets. It’s a quite influential and momentous text that’s been discussed in detail by people far more erudite than I; additionally, and perhaps more pertinently, Yiyang has already written a wonderful overview and analysis of the … Continue reading Book It! (Part 2 – John Addington Symonds’ Studies of the Greek Poets)

The world has grown old: reflections on Studies of the Greek Poets by J.A.S

The first version of Studies of the Greek Poets is published in 1873. A result of his life-long study in Greek literature, this book looks deeply into the Greek aesthetics, literary traditions, and politics through the lens of poets and the poetry. At this point, Symonds’ knowledge of Ancient Greece is sophisticated enough for him … Continue reading The world has grown old: reflections on Studies of the Greek Poets by J.A.S

“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