The House of Life by Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Sonnet-Sequence

April 2007
3 black and white illustrations
327 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843841135
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

The House of Life by Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Sonnet-Sequence

A Variorum Edition with Introduction and Notes

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Edited by Roger C. Lewis

New and definitive edition of Rossetti's masterpiece, with full notes and apparatus.
Described by W.S. Blunt as 'the greatest of the all the great Victorian poems', this sequence of 103 sonnets was composed between 1847 and 1881, and finally published complete in Ballads and Sonnets just six months before Rossetti's death. These passionate celebrations of the ecstasy of love threatened by change and Fate inspired the Aesthetes and Decadents of the eighties and nineties, leading to Walter Pater's Mona Lisa and Oscar Wilde's Salome.

This new edition of Rossetti's poetic masterpiece is presented here with Introduction, Notes and definitive texts and date. All variants are given for each poem (some sonnets exist in as many as eight versions), and each sonnet is given a documented date of composition and first publication. The illustrations include some rarely-seen images, notably a self-portrait by Elizabeth Siddal, the poet's wife, in whose coffin he placed his original poems, only to exhume them eight years later.
ROGER C. LEWIS is Emeritus Professor of English, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Youth and Change
Part II: Change and Fate
Appendix 1: Dating and Ordonnance
Appendix 2: Poems: Proof Stages
Appendix 3: Poems: Chronology 1868-71
Appendix 4: Poems: Bibliographical Summaries
Appendix 5: Ballads and Sonnets: Chronology 1879-82
Appendix 6: Ballads and Sonnets: Bibliographical Summaries
Appendix 7: Locations of Sources
Appendix 8: Unpublished and Excluded Sonnets
Bibliography of Works Cited or Consulted


A magnificent scholarly achievement of the most focused, intelligent, and thorough kind. MLR