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Lionel Johnson (March 15, 1867 - October 4, 1902)

Lionel Pigot Johnson (15 March 1867 – 4 October 1902) was an English poet, essayist and critic. He was born at Broadstairs, and educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford, graduating in 1890. He became a Catholic convert in 1891. He lived a solitary life in London, struggling with alcoholism and his repressed homosexuality. He died of a stroke after a fall in the street, though it was said to be a fall from a barstool in the Green Dragon in Fleet Street.

During his lifetime were published his The Art of Thomas Hardy (1894), Poems (1895), Ireland and Other Poems (1897). He was one of the Rhymers' Club, and cousin to Olivia Shakespear (who dedicated her novel The False Laurel to him).

In 1892, Johnson converted to Catholicism. He repudiated former friend Oscar Wilde and directed a sonnet at him called "The Destroyer of a Soul" (presumably the soul of his cousin Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he had introduced to Wilde the previous June). In the following year, Johnson wrote what some consider his masterpiece, "The Dark Angel".

"The Dark Angel" also served as one of the influences for the Dark Angels chapter of Space Marines in the Warhammer 40,000 fictional universe. Their Primarch, Lion El'Jonson, is also named after the poet.



Burial: St Mary Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green, Greater London, England

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Johnson

Further Readings:

The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Basic Books; Paperback Ed edition (November 7, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0465044395
ISBN-13: 978-0465044399
Amazon: The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde

In The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, Neil McKenna provides stunning new insight into the tumultuous sexual and psychological worlds of this brilliant and tormented figure. McKenna charts Wilde’s astonishing odyssey through London’s sexual underworld, and provides explosive new evidence of the political machinations behind Wilde’s trials for sodomy. Dazzlingly written and meticulously researched, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde offers a vividly original portrait of a troubled genius who chose to martyr himself for the cause of love between men.

Robbie Ross: Oscar Wilde's Devoted Friend by Jonathan Fryer
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Carroll & Graf (January 9, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786709278
ISBN-13: 978-0786709274
Amazon: Robbie Ross: Oscar Wilde's Devoted Friend

In a compelling narrative of moral courage and personal integrity, this biography tells the story of Robert Baldwin Ross, the man who first seduced Oscar Wilde and never wavered in his loyalty to the flamboyant wit and playwright. Unfailingly, Ross stood by Wilde through the scandals that shocked a nation, through his much-publicized trials and imprisonment, at his deathbed in Paris—and thereafter dedicated himself to defending the reputation of his famous friend.

Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford by Linda Dowling
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Cornell University Press (January 3, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0801481708
ISBN-13: 978-0801481703
Amazon: Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford

"Dowling's compact and intelligently argued study is concerned with the late-Victorian emergence of homosexuality as an identity rather than as an activity. . . . [This identity] was formed out of notions of Hellenism current in mid-century Oxford that were held to be lofty and ennobling and even a kind of substitute for a waning Christianity."-Nineteenth- Century Literature"Dowling's study is an exceptionally clear-headed and far-reaching analysis of the way Greek studies operated as a 'homosexual code' during the great age of English university reform. . . . Beautifully written and argued with subtlety, the book is indispensable for students of Victorian literature, culture, gender studies, and the nature of social change."-Choice"Hellenism and Homosexuality . . . presents a detailed and knowledgeable . . . account of such factors as the Oxford Movement and the influence of such Victorian dons as Jowett and Pater and the evolving evaluations of Classical Greece, its mores and morals. It is also enhanced by [an] analysis of Greek terminology with homosexual connotations, as to be found, for instance, in Plato's Republic."-Lambda Book Report
Tags: essayist: lionel johnson, gay classics
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