II. Giovanni Boccaccio [Introduction to second section of the Appendix to Part II of The Early Italian Poets]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1861
Genre: literary commentary


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the The Early Italian Poets text .

Scholarly Commentary


DGR closes his book of translations with a commentary on Boccaccio and a selection of his sonnets. The intention is to illustrate the continuity that stretches from the primitive Italian writers of the late twelfth-century to this great figure of the Italian Renaissance. DGR means to show that “Dante and his Circle” spread out across a wide cultural horizon.

As his own paintings and poems on the subject of Fiammetta suggest, however, DGR perceives a deeper significance in Boccaccio's admiration for Dante in particular. That admiration stands as an index of the availability of Dante's spirit to later kindred spirits; and Fiammetta thereby becomes the generic sign and name for the “small fires” that may be lit from the sun of Dante. (For further commentary see DGR's double work of Fiammetta.)

Textual History: Composition

DGR probably wrote this commentary fairly late—probably early or mid-1861, when he was putting the whole book of translations together.

Printing History

First published in 1861 in The Early Italian Poets; it was reprinted in 1874 in Dante and his Circle.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 6p-1861.raw.xml