Library of D. G. Rossetti

William Michael Rossetti

General Description

Date: c. 1866

Scholarly Commentary


WMR's list of the books in DGR's library in 1866, while very important, cannot be taken as a complete list of the books he owned—least of all used—up to that date.

A great many of these books came to him from his father's library. One can reasonably surmise that all or nearly all of the early imprinted books dealing with Italian poetry were originally his father's. But from the absence of certain books that we know formed part of his father's library, it is clear that DGR's brother, sisters, and probably other family members took other parts of Gabriele's books. In that regard, the most important works not listed here are the editions that DGR regularly used when he was making his translations for The Early Italian Poets: for instance, the Fraticelli edition of Dante; the Allaci edition of Poeti Antichi; Barberino's Documenti d'Amore; Fiacchi's Scelta di Rime Antiche; Crescimbeni's L'istoria della volgar poesie; Trucchi's Poesie Italiane Inedite di Dugento Autori; Valeriani and Lampredi's Poeti del Primo Secolo; and Villaroso's 4 volume edition of Raccolta di rime antiche toscane.

This list of books is notable in several other respects. Especially important are the many books signalling DGR's interest in book design and illustration—for instance the copies of Owen Jones's Grammar of Ornament, of two Aldus editions including the famous illustrated Aldus edition (published in 1499) of Colonna's Hypnerotomachia, as well as many contemporary works of various kinds, including Lear's Book of Nonsense. (It is interesting that WMR gives 1467 as the date of Colonna's book, which is the date of its composition, not the date when it was published by Aldus.) As one would expect, the list includes a number of costume books that were important for his drawing and painting work. The undated title Japanese Print-books & Illustrated Books, Coloured & Plain is an outstanding entry. Finally, one notes that DGR clearly had a significant interest in contemporary French literature.

Textual History: Composition

WMR compiled this booklist around 1866, as he notes on the copy preserved in the library of the University of British Columbia.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: dgrlibrary.raw.xml