Lionel Johnson

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Lionel Johnson
Born(1867-03-15)15 March 1867
Died4 October 1902(1902-10-04) (aged 35)
NationalityEnglish
OccupationPoet and critic
 
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Lionel Johnson
Born(1867-03-15)15 March 1867
Died4 October 1902(1902-10-04) (aged 35)
NationalityEnglish
OccupationPoet and critic

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.[1] He lived a solitary life in London, struggling with alcoholism and his repressed homosexuality.[2][3] He died of a stroke after a fall in the street, though it was said to be a fall from a barstool[2] in the Green Dragon in Fleet Street.[4]

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 1891, 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".[2][5]

"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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Lionel Pigot Johnson". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  2. ^ a b c O'Gorman, Francis (2004). Victorian Poetry: An Annotated Anthology. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 672–677. ISBN 0-631-23435-7. 
  3. ^ Arkins, Brian (1990). Builders of My Soul: Greek and Roman Themes in Yeats. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 8. ISBN 0-389-20913-9. 
  4. ^ Matthew Sweet, Inventing the Victorians, Faber and Faber, 2001, ISBN 978-0-571-20663-6 page 205
  5. ^ Hanson, Ellis (1997). Decadence and Catholicism. Harvard University Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-674-19444-6. 

Bibliography[edit]