Queer Places:
Winchester College, College St, Winchester SO23 9NA, United Kingdom
University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
St Mary Roman Catholic Cemetery Kensal Green, London Borough of Brent, Greater London, England, Plot Grave no. 1781 C

Related imageLionel Pigot Johnson (15 March 1867 – 4 October 1902) was an English poet, essayist and critic.

Johnson 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 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] in the Green Dragon in Fleet Street.[4]

During his lifetime were published his The Art of Thomas Hardy (1894), Poems (1895), Ireland and Other Poems (1897). He was one of the Rhymers' Club, and cousin to Olivia Shakespear (who dedicated her novel The False Laurel to him).

In June 1891, Johnson converted to Catholicism, at the same time as he introduced his cousin Lord Alfred Douglas to his friend Oscar Wilde. He later repudiated Wilde in "The Destroyer of a Soul" (1892), deeply regretting initiating what became the highly scandalous love affair between the two men.[5]

In 1893, Johnson wrote what some consider his masterpiece, "The Dark Angel". Over a century later, the poem inspired the Dark Angels chapter of Space Marines in the Warhammer 40,000 fictional universe. Lion El'Jonson, the chapter's central character, is also named after the poet.[2][6]


  1. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Lionel Pigot Johnson". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. O'Gorman, Francis (2004). Victorian Poetry: An Annotated Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 672–677. ISBN 0-631-23435-7..
  3. Arkins, Brian (1990). Builders of My Soul: Greek and Roman Themes in Yeats. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 8. ISBN 0-389-20913-9..
  4. Sweet, Matthew/a> (2001). Inventing the Victorians. London: Faber and Faber. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-571-20663-6..
  5. Fisher, Trevor (2002). Oscar and Bosie. Sutton Publishing. pp. 42–3. ISBN 0-7509-2459-4.
  6. Hanson, Ellis (1997). Decadence and Catholicism. Harvard University Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-674-19444-6.