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