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    STUDIA PHILOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2017  


Published Online: 2017-03-24
Published Print: 2017-03-31


A Novel of Celibacy: Swinburne’s Lesbia Brandon. Swinburne’s lost masterpiece, Lesbia Brandon, is a text that reflects upon the burden of family memory and on the ways a particular individual could escape the reproduction chain. Caught at different ages, Beauty represents for the Decadent writer a state of unequalled perfection, which can be neither expressed nor related to a referent. In this context, celibacy becomes the social condition of Beauty as well as an aesthetic form. A novel with bachelors and about celibate, Swinburne’s Lesbia Brandon transcends its shocking premises (lesbianism, incest, violence, flogging) and reveals itself as a meditation on the evanescent condition of mortal beauty. Along with his favored typologies and themes, Swinburne also devised here a different way to think the relationship between authoritarian (complementary partners) and egalitarian love (equal or identical partners) within the wider ideological frame of republicanism.

Keywords: roman célibataire, indirection, seriality, memory, decadence, androgyny.


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