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Re-Presentations of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Portrayals in Fiction, Drama, Music, and ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Re-Presentations of Dante Gabriel Rossetti:


Rossetti is a genius whose personality seems somehow greater than his work.

––John Gere, Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Painter and Poet
Royal Academy of Art Catalogue, 1973

In 1982, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Fredeman raised a question first posed in 1928 by Evelyn Waugh, namely, “What is wrong with Rossetti?” Fredeman, whose accomplishments as a Rossetti scholar include the editorship of the Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, wondered why, even with noted exhibits of his artwork and a wealth of commentary on his poetry, Rossetti had not found a place in what he termed “the pantheon” of English writers and painters. After describing the wealth of published critical material on Rossetti, he concluded the main difficulty is that the “sheer number of melodramatic episodes of Rossetti’s life” has drawn attention away from his work (xvii). This, in itself, is a somewhat pessimistic portrayal of the poet and artist, whose presence