The Slave (holograph manuscript)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: The Slave
Author: DGR
Date of composition: 1835
Type of Manuscript: holograph fair copy
Collation: 3-6, 9-14, 21-34, [35]
Note: The text is written into the successive pages of a small notebook. Several pages are torn out (1-2, 7-8, 15-20) and a note by WMR is laid inside the front cover.
Scribe: DGR
Corrector: DGR


Current Location: South African National Gallery

Physical Description

Dimensions of Document: 4 1/2 x 3 3/4 in.

Scholarly Commentary


This work is written into a small notebook that contains as well a quotation from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (Portia's speech on “The quality of mercy”) and the beginning of a second drama, Aladdin . The Shakespeare passage was obviously initially intended to comprise a set that DGR headed “Beauties of Shakespeare”. The last few pages of the book contain some juvenile sketches, including several puppet theatre figures such as those he drew for the Arabian Nights series. The latter are confidently dated from 1840, which shows that DGR's interest in this kind of drawing, and in these kinds of romance tales, persisted throughout his earliest years.

The text of The Slave through page 10 is scripted in carefully decorative roman print characters, except for the stage directions which are in a cursive script. From page 11 the remainder of the manuscript is in cursive entirely. DGR makes no effort to preserve a standard play text design, so that the lines and speech headings all run on continuosly. The scene divisions in Act I are editorially derived whereas in Act II they are labelled by DGR.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 1-1835.safrica.rad.xml