Dinah Roe: Books: The Rossettis In Wonderland

Dinah Roe

The Rossettis In Wonderland : A Victorian Family History

The exiled Italian poet Gabriele Rossetti arrived in London in 1824 with a few letters of introduction, little money and less English. But within a single generation, he would bequeath to his new city a remarkable cultural legacy through the accomplishments of his children. There was the poet and defining Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel; the poet and religious thinker Christina, the nun and Dante Alighieri scholar Maria; and William, who combined a life of English letters and art criticism with a successful career as a civil servant.

The lives and achievements of the Rossettis are placed within the wider context of the artistic, literary and spiritual communities that inspired them and that they shaped in their turn. They worked with each other and in collaboration with the most famous figures of the day – Tennyson, Swinburne and Ruskin – as well as within significant groups like the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Anglo-Catholic Sisterhoods. Even the minor characters in the family story are remarkable, such as the Rossettis’ aunt Eliza Polidori who went to serve as a Nightingale Nurse in the Crimean War, and their cousin Henrietta Polydore who was abducted by her mother and hidden with the Mormons in Utah.

The Rossettis In Wonderland describes the Rossetti family and their rise to fame and influence against the vividly realised background of Victorian London. Each member of this Anglo-Italian family, and their social circle, has an interesting story to tell individually, but collectively, their stories paint a portrait of an era.

Haus (2011) ISBN: 9781907822018