All of Rossetti's enormous labors in finally preparing his poems for publication in 1870 were aimed at obscuring his own tracks, eradicating immaturities of style and obliterating any traces of his early thought. He included a note on the title page of Poems that was obviously intended for the same purpose: "Many poems in this volume were written between 1847 and 1853. Others are of recent date, and a few belong to the intervening period. It has been thought unnecessary to specify the earlier work, as nothing is included which the author believes to be immature" (Poems, 1). Of course nothing is immature because, in fact, practically no one of the poems as published can be said to belong to the earlier period. His revisions and studied arrangement had rendered the volume entirely a product of 1870. Unfortunately for Rossetti's posthumous reputation, his systematic obliteration of his footsteps has led many critics to condemn him for failure to "develop with the years" (104).


David G. Riede. Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Limits of Victorian Vision. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983.

Last modified 24 September 2001; Thanks to Jay Rosenthal for reporting broken links.