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The Rossettis In Wonderland: A Victorian Family History Paperback – 3 Oct 2011
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'The decadent glamour of Dante Gabriel's life, and the quiet renunciation of his sister Christina's, may be well known, but in The Rossettis In Wonderland Dinah Roe brings their siblings, Maria and William Michael, into view. Roe explains that Maria's decision, at 42, to enter an Anglican sisterhood was bravely self-defining. She also shows how William Michael negotiated the criticism of his errant older brother, writing to him on the occasion of the macabre burial of his wife and model, Lizzie Siddal, "you have acted right on both occasions." An intertwining family biography is a hard task but Roe brilliantly makes a larger picture to frame the genius of Dante Gabriel and Christina.' (The Times 2011-10-15)
About the Author
Born and raised in Upstate New York, Dinah Roe was educated at Vassar College. She is the author of Christina Rossetti’s Faithful Imagination (2006). She has recently completed selecting, editing and introducing the Selected Poems of Christina Rossetti for Penguin Classics. She lives and works in London.
Top customer reviews
The reading experience was marred only by the huge amount of typographical errors, including the laughable "fact" that The Spectator cost 99p in the 1850s! I felt as if I was reading a proof copy at times. Also the notes on the text are sparse and uninformative.
Nevertheless I would recommend this book if you have any interest in the 19th entry, artists, poets and the like.
Roe structures her narrative extremely well; it is beautifully written, with real momentum, wit and vividness. It was very instructive to learn more about the less well-known Rossettis, and understand how the quieter members of families often enable and shape the life-choices and artistic decisions of their more celebrated siblings.
Roe brings an enormous amount of scholarship to this book, but she is a very dextrous storyteller so the wealth of new material she unearths does not for a moment impede the progress of her narrative. Academics and more general readers alike should derive a great deal of pleasure from this compelling history of a fascinating family.
Seeing the poems and paintings set into the context of their creators' personal and social history allowed me to experience them with a more three-dimensional comprehension. And after reading Roe's thorough and touching family biography, I feel capable of approaching Christina Rossetti's poems and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's art with an informed, and therefore more profound, appreciation.
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