Algolagnia, now: lust for pain. Sexual pleasure derived from inflicting or suffering pain. (Google Medical Dictionary.) Apart from his several real and professed peculiarities, Swinbourne is reputed to have ‘enjoyed’ a bit of a spanking. More of a sufferer than an inflictor, he also claimed bestiality, among his tastes and was addicted to the effects of mind-blowing preparations including, naturally, alcohol in excessive amounts. Always uninhibited, old Swinbers gave good measure at every social gathering. Many members of the artistic fraternity had their foibles. Rossetti himself, especially after the death of Lizzie Siddal, became progressively more eccentric, with his menagerie of exotic animals, his guilt-ridden séances and his obsessions. Others, like Christina Rossetti, Ruskin and William Morris devoted themselves to matters of Morality and Taste. Robert William Buchanan stirred up a hornet’s nest in his anonymous attack on the Fleshly School of Poetry. Meanwhile Oscar Finegal O Flaherty Wills Wilde was gaining a head of flamboyant steam as the century moved towards its end. Not for Oscar, your algolagnia: I dare say,he could ‘withstand anything but pain’ but, in the end 19C morality brought him down.

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