Dreams of Impossible Pangs

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Dreams of Impossible Pangs

Algernon Charles Swinburne, scandalous poet of the mid 1860s whose verses riveted and appalled London, recalls his extraordinary life from the safety of his captivity in Putney under the guardianship of the sinister lawyer and Pre-Raphaelite groupie, Theodore Watts Dunton. His journals find their way into the hands of the critic Edmund Gosse who provides his own perspective on events, as Swinburne’s sadomasochistic relationship with the Jewish Pre-Raphaelite artist develops against a complex background of intrigue, as the scene moves from country house to the studios of the Pre-Raphaelites, to France, and back to the underbelly of aristocratic London life, with its interest in flagellation brothels, bestiality, homosexuality and sadomasochism, all seething beneath the surface of the apparent respectability of Victorian England.