The Fleshly School of Poetry

London: Strahan & Co.. 1872.

First edition. 8vo. 182x123mm. pp. ix, [i], 97 [1bl], [4pp advertisements]. Original illustrated paper wrappers, slightly soiled and with repair and a little loss to the spine. Some foxing but overall a very good copy of fragile little book, rare in the wrappers.
Robert Williams Buchanan (1841-1901) was a Scottish writer of some talent and contemporary success who is best remembered now for this work and the controversy surrounding it, especially his coining of the epithet "The Fleshly School of Poetry" to describe the work of Swinburne and Rossetti. The previous year, Buchanan had published his views on Rossetti in the Contemporary Review using a pseudonym. This led to outrage among the pre-Raphaelites and the 'outing' of Buchanan as the author. Undeterred, Buchanan revised and expanded the essay into this pamphlet, publishing it under his true name. More outrage ensued with Swinburne describing Buchanan, in a newspaper article, as "a polypseudonymous libeller". Buchanan sued the newspaper and won. However, he later repented of the severity of his attack, particularly against Rossetti of whom he said in 1882 that he was "never a Fleshly Poet at all".

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