Lionel Johnson
Born 15 March 1867 (1867-03-15)
Died Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "{"., Expression error: Unrecognised word "october".
Nationality English
Occupation Poet 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 rather 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]

During his lifetime were published his The Art of Thomas Hardy (1894), Poems (1895), Ireland and Other Poems (1897). He was one of the Rhymer's Club.

His poem, The Dark Angel 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 him.

In 1892, 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][4]



  • The collected poems of Lionel Johnson (1953) edited by Ian Fletcher, Unicorn Press, London (reprinted 1982).
  • Post Liminium. Essays and Critical Papers (1911) edited by Thomas Whittemore, Elkin Mathews, London (reprinted 1968).
  • Lionel Pigot Johnson: a biography Richard Whittington-Egan, Rivendale Press (forthcoming)
  • At the Heart of the 1890s: Essays on Lionel Johnson Gary Paterson, AMS Press (2008)

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