Wednesday 27 May 2009

At The Pines

A lucky find at Oxfam just now - one I had been hoping to get my hands on for a long time: At The Pines by the gloriously named Mollie Panter-Downes (surely an escapee from a Betjeman poem). Originally published in The New Yorker, this is an account of the respectable years of Swinburne, when he was living in the care of his friend, the now otherwise forgotten Theodore Watts-Dunton, in a villa in suburban Putney. Max Beerbohm's wonderful account of a visit to Number 2 The Pines says it all really - but I'm very glad to have this book. Seriously underpriced too - considering how long it's been unavailable - at a mere £1.99. A lucky find indeed.


  1. Swift through the quadrangle rides splendid Mollie,
    Volumes of Swinburne bulge in her gowns.
    Fortunate volumes! Oh, but what folly,
    To pant down the lane after Mollie Panter-Downes!

  2. I didn't know Swinburne had ANY respectable years. I mainly know of him for his fascination with spanking, a sexual-arousal method shared by his buddy Charles Reade, that Renaissance Victorian (if there is such a thing!).

  3. Excellent Brit - a tricky name to scan, needs a line to itself. Mollie Panter-Downes, Mollie Panter-Downes...
    Spanking indeed Susan - I believe he wrote some rather dainty pornography on the theme. Enthusiastic boozing too, tho a couple of glasses were enough to undo him...

  4. Yes, I've assumed Downes is one syllable, and stessed MOLL and PANT.

  5. Michael Allen - the Grumpy Old Bookman wrote a novel about Swinburne - he posted extracts on his blog which were very good.

  6. Thanks for the link Elberry - great fun.