The Rossetti-Macmillan Letters: Some 133 Unpublished Letters Written to Alexander Macmillan, F. S. Ellis, and Others, by Dante Gabriel, Christina, and William Michael Rossetti, 1861-1889

The Rossetti-Macmillan Letters: Some 133 Unpublished Letters Written to Alexander Macmillan, F. S. Ellis, and Others, by Dante Gabriel, Christina, and William Michael Rossetti, 1861-1889

The Rossetti-Macmillan Letters: Some 133 Unpublished Letters Written to Alexander Macmillan, F. S. Ellis, and Others, by Dante Gabriel, Christina, and William Michael Rossetti, 1861-1889

The Rossetti-Macmillan Letters: Some 133 Unpublished Letters Written to Alexander Macmillan, F. S. Ellis, and Others, by Dante Gabriel, Christina, and William Michael Rossetti, 1861-1889

Excerpt

William Michael was the first Rossetti to meet Alexander Macmillan in 1854. William, then twenty-five, was spending a few days at Cambridge with his friend John Ferguson McClennan, who moved in a circle of brilliant young University men. He introduced William to the more noted among them and also to Alexander Macmillan, then "a rising young publisher in the town," whose house at Number One TrinityStreet, combination of bookshop and publishers' quarters, had already become a genial gathering place for Cambridge wits, many of whom, as Charles Morgan says, came into the bookseller's shop to buy books and remained with the publishing house to write them.

Up to that time Alexander had regarded himself as the less gifted brother of Daniel, that "grave black man," whose stubbornly spectacular battle with poverty and ill-health eventually gained for the Macmillan brothers their precarious position of debt-ridden independence as reputable Cambridge booksellers and publishers. Although Daniel, friend of Maurice and Kingsley and advocate of "muscular Christianity," considered poverty wholesome for the soul, Alexander took a more practical view of the matter. Larger rooms, better clothing, and better food may not constitute happiness, he told his brother, "but after all, tight circumstances, no more than tight boots are comfortable"; and in 1854 with Westward . . .

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