Letter: A poet's macabre gratitude

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The Independent Online
Sir: In your "First Encounters" feature (Magazine; "When Algernon Swinburne met Victor Hugo", 1 June), Nancy Caldwell Sorel mentions Algernon Swinburne almost being drowned in Normandy in 1868.

He was rescued by Guy de Maupassant, who was on holiday at the resort of Etretat. Swinburne was so grateful to De Maupassant that he allowed him access to a collection of macabre objects in his possession.

One of these was a severed hand which De Maupassant kept for several years and used as a paper-weight.


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