The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Vol. 1

The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Vol. 1

The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Vol. 1

The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Vol. 1

Synopsis

The best of these letters, flowing rapidly from his pen, radiate charisma and enthusiasm, warmth and care for his friends, and a total engagement with art and literature. BURLINGTON MAGAZINE (Julian Treuherz) 1835-1854: This nine-volume edition will represent the definitive collection of extant Rossetti correspondence, an outstanding primary witness to the range of ideas and opinions that shaped Rossetti's art and poetry. The largest collection of Rossetti's letters ever to be published, it features all known surviving letters, a total of almost 5,800 to over 330 recipients, and includes 2,000 previously unpublished letters by Rossetti and selected letters to him. In addition to this, about 100 drawings taken from within letter texts are also reproduced. In its entirety the collection will give an invaluable and unparalleled insight into Rossetti's character and art, and will form a rich resource for students and scholars studying all aspects of his life and work. The correspondence has been transcribed from collections in sixty-four manuscript repositories, containing Rossetti's letters to his companions in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Hunt and Stephens; friends such as Boyce and Bell Scott; his early patrons, Ellen Heaton and James Leathart; and his publisher friend, Alexander Macmillan. An additional twenty-two printed sources have also been accessed. Index; extensive annotations.WILLIAM E. FREDEMAN (1928-1999) was professor of English at the University of British Columbia from 1956-1991. His many books, articles and reviews on the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers include his important Pre-Raphaelitism: A Bibliocritical Study. He died in 1999 with this edition almost completed. An editorial committee chaired by Betty Fredeman has been formed to see it through the press.

Excerpt

The publication of these first two volumes of the correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti marks the culmination of an editorial hegira that began nearly 25 years ago. Launched as a result of a pair of “Mack the Knife” reviews (a genre in which I have attained an altogether undeserved reputation) of the Doughty–Wahl edition of Rossetti’s letters, published in four volumes (sans index), by Clarendon in 1965–67, in which I exposed the surprising lacunae of the edition, pointed to a few of the editorial shortcomings, and suggested that Clarendon might like to consider publishing an “Aladdin” edition, offering new lamps for old. When Dan Davin, then English Literature editor at Clarendon, who had more than a disinterested stake in the earlier edition, invited me to re-edit the letters in 1973, after it became clear that simple surgery, in the form of a supplement, was not viable, I was too flattered to recognize the quagmire into which my enthusiasm and inexperience would lead me. When I began I had only the vaguest idea of the enormity of the task ahead, even in terms of the extensiveness, range, and dispersement of the letters themselves or the editorial headaches that the sheer handling of the physical objects would involve.

All editors of letters share common logistical tasks relating to the location of manuscripts and the securing of copyright and owner permissions. Depending on the extent of the correspondence, the accessibility of the copyright owner, and the cooperation of private collectors and public repositories, this phase of the editing may prove relatively easy or frustratingly complex. Once assembled, however, letters pose similar, though certainly not identical, problems, involving provenance, publication history, transcription, formatting, attribution, dating, arrangement, and the question . . .

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