Rosamond and Chastelard of Swinburne's Medievalism

Anthony H. Harrison, Professor of English, North Carolina State University


Note 2 of Rosamond and Chastelard of the author's Swinburne's Medievalism-A Study in Victorian Love Poetry which Louisiana State University Press published in 1979. It has been included in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.

Swinburne's preoccupation with actual or simulated adulterous relationships in Rosamond, A Year's Letters, Tristram of Lyonesse, and elsewhere agrees perfectly with courtly tradition. Brodwin explains that "true courtly adultery, such as that of Lancelot or Tristan, never looks forward to marriage as the fulfillment of its desire. Indeed, the concept of a love relationship seems framed to include the husband or wife [as in Rosamond], in order to provide the intensifying obstruction necessary for the perpetuation of desire" (Elizabethan Love Tragedy, 24).

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Last updated: June 2000