Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature L (Delaware Museum, revise proof, 25 April 1881)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
City of publication: London
Date of publication: 1881 April 25
Pre-Publication Information: proof
Pagination: 145-[160]
Authorization: DGR
Collation: L 8


Current Location: Library, Delaware Art Museum

Physical Description

Point: 10 point; 6 point leading
Font: roman
Lines per Page: 17
Margin top: 2 cm
Margin bottom: 3.8 cm
Margin right: 2 cm
Margin left: 2.5 cm
Dimensions of Document: 19 x 12.8cm (crown octavo)

Scholarly Commentary


This is an complete revise (dated 25 April 1881 and numbered 1) of Signature L of the Ballads and Sonnets volume with corrections by DGR on pages 155 and 160. This is the earliest proof where we see DGR preparing copy for the printing of The House of Life sonnets.

Textual History: Revision

In addition to this complete revise proof, the library of the Delaware Museum of Art has the following proof materials for Signature L of DGR's Ballads and Sonnets volume: a complete copy of the first author's proof and a duplicate (both dated 14 Apr 81 and numbered 1); a fragmentary copy of the first revise (dated 19 Apr 81 and numbered 2); a series of revise proofs (see below) printed and revised between 14 April and the end of May that lead up to the final June proofs; a late revise proof (dated 2 June and numbered 5); and a complete final proof as well as a complete duplicate of the final proof plus two incomplete duplicates, duplicate 1 and duplicate 2. The British Library proofs have another copy (partial) of revise proofs for this signature (undated, unnumbered, and lacking pages 145-146, 159-160). These proofs date from the same period of revision exemplified by the large corpus of revises that came in late April and throughout May.

The revises that come in late April and throughout May are the following: an incomplete second revise and a duplicate incomplete second revise , both with DGR's corrections, that must have shortly preceded the second revise of 19 April, as well as another incomplete revise that followed shortly after. Then come a series of revises dated 25 and 26 April, of which this one is the first. The others are: complete revise, copy 1 (undated and unnumbered); another complete revise, copy 2 (dated 26 April 1881 and numbered 2); another complete revise, copy 3 (dated 26 April 1881 and numbered 2); a late complete revise, copy 4 (dated 26 April 1881 and numbered 2); a complete revise, uncut sheets (complete, undated and unnumbered, but a shop copy that was pulled early in this proofing sequence); and miscellaneous page proofs (incomplete, undated and unnumbered). Finally, there are three revises that can be dated 31 May 1881: a complete revise (undated and numbered 1) and the incomplete copy 1 and the incomplete copy 2 (both dated 31 May 1881 and both unnumbered).

The principal revisions would have been made around mid-May, as we can tell from DGR's correspondence with his publisher. A letter to Ellis of 13 May says that all of the revises received to that date—which would have been everything through signature Q had been sent back. But on 15 May he writes again to Ellis asking that the final printing of signatures K and L be held up for further revisions, which DGR completed on 17-18 May, as letters to Ellis of those dates show.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1