- 奈良教育大学紀要. 人文・社会科学 (ISSN:05472393)
- vol.26, no.1, pp.69-80, 1977-11-15 (Released:2017-02-24)
In Swinburne's poetry we find many remarkable femme fatale characters : Dolores, Faustine, Venus, Mary Stuart, and Atalanta are all typical femmes fatales, to give a few examples. He was almost possessed with the femme fatale image, and in fact, he became the first to introduce to the Victorian England the "fatal woman" imagery, which was indeed the representative iconography in the fin de siecle European art. Mary Gordon was Swinburne's closely related cousin and was also his bosom friend who had shared the romantic make-believe world of their own since their childhood. Mary's sudden announcement to marry a soldier was a shock to the poet, to whom perhaps it meant destruction of their cherished private world. Swinburne had been interested in the femme fatale theme since his boyhood, and in his imagination the "fatal woman" image had already taken shape, waiting only for a chance to be actually written down as a poem. Mary's engagement announcement gave him such a chance, and now he could set out to become a chief actor in his‘monodrama', in which he was to be tormented by cruel femmes fatales. Swinburne was a poet who was extremely conscious of his poetic art as a‘maker' of poetry. Almost all his poetry can possibly be said‘meta-poetry', that is, poetry about poetry. To achieve his aim to embody‘l'art pour l'art' in his poems, he made use of surprisingly many poetic forms and themes. And his femme fatale myth was one of such themes and his‘lost love' to Mary Gordon gave a good chance to start him writing femme fatale poems.