Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

(1828-1882) UK-born poet and painter of Italian parentage, brother of Christina Rossetti and William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), nephew of John Polidori. His early friendships with Holman Hunt (1827-1910) and John Everett Millais, all with a common interest in revolutionizing English art and bringing back the lost Romanticism, led to the formation of the Preraphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. Their work changed the Victorian attitude to art completely. Supported by John Ruskin and Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) and later joined by William Morris and others, the movement rapidly took hold despite initial intransigence among critics. DGR was perhaps the most influential of the group, less ardent than Morris and less productive than Hunt, but nevertheless produced a body of work that remains the epitome of Victorian Romanticism. His paintings, which drew on religious themes as well as Arthurian (see Arthur) and Dantesque (see Dante Alighieri) subjects, were spiritually and emotionally charged, evoking distant and otherworldly imagery. He endeavoured to bring that same sense of displacement to his poetry. "The Blessed Damozel" (1850 The Germ) is a romantic piece about a maiden from Heaven calling to her earthly love; Sister Helen (1870 chap), an imitation medieval ballad, uses the theme of Vengeance through a waxen image; "The House of Life" (1881 in Ballads and Sonnets) is a sequence of mystical and arcane sonnets. Of all the Preraphaelites, DGR is perhaps the most representative and the most influential. [MA]

Dante Gabriel Charles Rossetti


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.