Page 426. " the name of another person who lived there "
Portrait of Swinburne by William Bell Scott
Public DomainPortrait of Swinburne by William Bell Scott

Algernon Swinburne (1837-1909) was a technically-innovative poet who shocked Victorian society with the decadence of his work.  The Victorian establishment assumed that his morals matched his poetry, although Oscar Wilde claimed that Swinburne's degeneracy was a show, and he had "done everything he could to convince his fellow citizens of his homosexuality and bestiality without being in the slightest degree a homosexual or a bestializer."


Page 429. " rococo horror of void "

Rococo design for a table
Public DomainRococo design for a table
The rococo style of decoration was elaborately ornate, almost excessively so.


Page 435. " Miss Christina Rossetti "

Portrait of Christina Rossetti by her brother
Public DomainPortrait of Christina Rossetti by her brother
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was, like her brother, a poet.  She wrote love poetry, religious poetry and poetry for children, and is best known for the poem used as the lyrics for the Christmas carol "In the Bleak Midwinter".  There is no evidence to suggest she was a lesbian, although one of her poems does have some lesbian imagery: she was engaged twice to men but broke both engagements on religious grounds.

Page 437. " a Chopin Mazurka "

Listen on Spotify: Mazurka #13 in A Minor

Page 440. " took - and died of - chloral "

Chloral is a sedative that, when mixed with water, makes up "knock-out drops".  Effects of long-term use include rashes, stomach problems and eventual kidney failure.

Page 441. " This flânerie in Chelsea "

Flânerie is a concept invented by French poet Baudelaire.  Adapting a French word for "strolling", Baudelaire uses flânerie to describe strolling through a city to immerse oneself as both a detached observer of street life and an active participant.

Page 445. " the invisible gun-carriage "

In state funerals in Britain, the coffin is placed on top of a wheeled cart that would normally carry an artillery gun.

Page 445. " upon the unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea "

Fowles quotes the final line from Matthew Arnold's "To Marguerite: Continued", which he included in its entirety in an earlier chapter, calling it "perhaps the noblest short poem of the whole Victorian era".