The Pre-Raphaelites: From Rossetti to Ruskin (Penguin Classics)
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The Pre-Raphaelite Movement began in 1848, and experienced its heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. Influenced by the then little-known Keats and Blake, as well as Wordsworth, Shelley and Coleridge, Pre-Raphaelite poetry "etherialized sensation" (in the words of Antony Harrison), and popularized the notion ofl'art pour l'art—art for art's sake. Where Victorian realist novels explored the grit and grime of the Industrial Revolution, Pre-Raphaelite poems concentrated on more abstract themes of romantic love, artistic inspiration and sexuality. Later they attracted Aesthetes and Decadents like Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley and Ernest Dowson, not to mention Gerard Manley Hopkins and W.B. Yeats.
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head; Not like a tomb is this my bed, Yet oft I think that I am dead; That round my tomb is writ, ‘Ozana of the hardy heart, 30Knight of the Table Round, Pray for his soul, lords, of your part; A true knight he was found.’ Ah! me, I cannot fathom it. [He sleeps.] SIR GALAHAD All day long and every day, 35Till his madness pass’d away, I watch’d Ozana as he lay Within the gilded screen. All my singing moved him not; As I sung my heart grew hot, 40With the thought of Launcelot Far away, I ween. So
a stinging reply, ‘The Stealthy School of Criticism’, in the Athenaeum, the damage was done. Pre-Raphaelite poetry would be inextricably linked with the pornographic, the unhealthy, the morbid and the feminized. As late as 1900, William Michael was still emphasizing his brother’s ‘masculine traits’, insisting rather sternly: ‘He did not “yearn”.’ The more readers learned about Dante Gabriel the man, ‘the less room will be left for the notion of a pallid and anaemic “aesthete” ’.30 In some ways,
ancient Egyptian capital under the eighteenth dynasty. The site of the major temples of Luxor and Karnak, it is famous for its monuments and Egyptian treasures. 113. teraphim small objects used in ancient times as household gods or oracles. 125. sardonyx type of onyx (a semi-precious stone) containing bands of sard, a reddish mineral; porphyry semi-precious, reddish-purple stone with large crystals. 148. taboring drumming. 164. gypsum soft mineral found in sedimentary deposits from which
daisies emblem of innocence. Daisies feature frequently in Keats’s poems. 10–11. Here lies one whose … In water Keats’s epitaph. See also ll. 12–13 of DGR’s ‘John Keats’: ‘not writ / But rumour’d in water’. 12. basil alludes to Keats’s ‘Isabella or The Pot of Basil’ (1820). Portraits Composed 9 May 1853. New Poems (Macmillan, 1896). The poem’s first stanza portrays WMR, while WMR and DGR are the subject of the second stanza. See Biographical Notes. In an Artist’s Studio Composed 24 December
God. From Tristram of Lyonesse Tristram of Lyonesse and Other Poems (Chatto & Windus, 1882). This extract reproduces ll. 1–75 of ‘I. The Sailing of the Swallow’. Title. From an Arthurian legend in which Tristram travels to Ireland to win Yseult (also spelled ‘Iseult’) of Ireland’s hand in marriage for King Mark of Cornwall. During the return voyage to Cornwall, Tristram and Yseult begin a tragic affair after drinking a love potion intended for Yseult and King Mark. Yseult marries King Mark