Alternately titled: Hodge podge
Alternately titled: Hotch Potch
Alternately titled: Hotchpotch
Alternately titled: Illustrated Scrap-book
Alternately titled: Illustrated Spectator

Frances Maria Lavinia Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1843 May - August


◦ Chapman and Meacock, Chronology, 18-21

◦ WMR, Family Letters, II. 16-19

Scholarly Commentary


Hodge Podge was a short-lived manuscript magazine launched by Mrs. Rossetti in late May 1843 in order to occupy her children during a period when Mrs. Rossetti, on doctor's orders, took her husband Gabriele to Hastings, then to France, and eventually to Paris, in an effort to cure his severe case of bronchitis. The children remained in London in the care of their aunt Margaret. Although long thought to have contained early work by the four children, the only known surviving copy, in the Angeli papers in the library of the U. of British Columbia, suggests otherwise.

The Angeli copy, which is entirely in the hand of Mrs. Rossetti, may be a copy of a lost original. If it is itself the original, then most and probably all of the contents are the work of Mrs. Rossetti. In any case, the contents of the final four numbers are hers and not her children's since all of those works are dated from Paris.

Hodge-Podge was originally intended to appear in weekly numbers, but after the first three issues (20 and 27 May and 3 June), the next four (and final) issues appeared more irregularly, on 12 and 23 July and 12 and 15 August. Most important, each of these final issues is dated from Paris and their contents are all Paris-related, indicating that Mrs. Rossetti is the author of the contents of the final four numbers of Hodge-Podge. We know that all four Rossetti children promised contributions because WMR and DGR both mention several works in particular (see Family Letters, II. 16-18 ). None of these works are in the extant Hodge-Podge nor is the extant material in the first three numbers known to be the work of any of the children.

WMR's comments on the venture are brief: “I cannot recall much about the Illustrated Scrap-book in which we all appear to have co-operated. But I recollect the Hodge-podge, which had been a still more juvenile attempt in the same line” ( Family Letters, II. 16 ). More pertinent is DGR's description written at the time, in a letter sent to his mother while she was still in Paris: “The Illustrated Scrap-book continues swimmingly. It improves with every number. Of the number on which William and myself are at present employed I am particularly proud. It contains some of my choicest specimens of sketching. Its pages are likewise adorned with two poetic effusions by Christina, the one entitled Rosalind and the other Corydon's Resolution, both of which are very good, especially the latter, which elicited the warm admiration of Dr. Heimann. Maria has also authorized me to insert in the victorious Scrap-book her Vision of Human Life, originally written for the fallen Hodge-podge, the ‘weekly efforts’ contained in which have I fear given their last gasp, since not a single perfect number has appeared since your departure. William has written an enormous quantity of Ulfred the Saxon, which increases in interest as it proceeds. His description of the battle of Hastings and death of Harold is acknowledged by every one to be excellent” (see Family Letters, II. 18 ). This passage suggests that Mrs. Rossetti and the children were each active on the project on different ends but that the children were less resolute in their efforts than was Mrs. Rossetti. What they did eventually produce—the works mentioned by DGR—must have lost their relevance to the periodical project when Mrs. Rossetti and her husband returned home from Gabriele's rest cure.

Many years later when DGR suggested in a letter to his mother (dated 20 May 1873) that the “The Blessed Damozel” was written for Hodge Podge, he seems to have been mistaken, unless perhaps he had written a version of the poem as early as 1843, which is unlikely given his interests at that time. The Hodge Podge mutated into a new title, the Illustrated Scrap-book, but the whole project was defunct by August of 1843, four years before “The Blessed Damozel” was written (see DGR's letter of 14 August 1843, Family Letters, II. 18 and Fredeman, Correspondence, 73. 134 ).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 5-1843.raw.xml