MacCracken (Parody on Tennyson's “Kraken”)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1853
Rhyme: ababcddcefeaafe
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Fredeman, Correspondence, 52. 26n

◦ WMR, DGR. Designer and Writer , 14-15


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Princeton holograph fair copy.

Scholarly Commentary


The central focus of the satiric parody is Francis MacCracken (fl. 1840-1864), a cotton spinner who greatly admired DGR's work, bought two, and commissioned others. He was not wealthy, and DGR represents him as a “spunger”, presumably, because he “plied [DGR] with letters” at a time when DGR was more interested in developing relations with more well-connected people: see WMR, DGR. Designer and Writer, 14 ) where WMR represents MacCracken in a much more favorable light. ( Fredeman, Correspondence, 52. 26n has corrected some of the factual errors in WMR's account of MacCracken).

WMR puts a note to the sonnet in his 1911 edition (see below) where he vigorously denies the charge that MacCracken was “cheap”.

Textual History: Composition

DGR's fair copy of the sonnet is at Princeton. He also sent a copy of the sonnet to his sister Christina in a letter of 8 November 1853 and another to William Allingham in a letter of 23 July 1854.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 11-1853.raw.xml