Notebook Pages (Note Book III, Duke Library)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of composition: 1881
Collation: [i-ii], [1] - [23]
Note: The pages are individually numbered in square brackets by WMR.
Scribe: DGR
Corrector: DGR


Current Location: Duke University Library
Catalog Number: Writings XXVII. Notebook III

Physical Description

Paper: 7 x 8 5/8 in
Watermark: J ALLEN & SONS

Other Physical Features: This is the same paper as another set of notebook pages in the Duke Library archive


  • Baum, ed., Manuscripts in the Duke University Library, 38-41, 72-78.

Scholarly Commentary


These pages were studied and described by Paull Baum in his Manuscripts in the Duke University Library38-41, 72-78. Baum calls the pages loose sheets from a “Notebook III” and treats them as disbound from a single notebook. WMR paginated the pages in sequence, but this numeration may have been for his convenience, and may not indicate the the precise original sequence of the leaves. (DGR's typical notebooks comprise many more leaves than are represented in this sequence; for a typical notebook, which is still integral, see the text for the “Kelmscott House of Life” sequence.)

Whatever the original state of the notebook, DGR must have composed in it at several times between 1872 and 1880 or even 1881. Those dates are securely determined for several distinct sets of pages, because of the presence in the notebook of (a) DGR's epigram on Flaubert , which he wrote in 1880 after the writer's death; (b) DGR's notes on his Perlascura project, which he was working at with Frederick Shields in 1877-1878; and (c) his draft texts of passages from various poems and sonnets, some dating from as early as 1873, some as late as 1880 (like the pencil additions to “The Bride's Prelude”) as well as some prose notes on his projected 1881 book publications).

Some integral gatherings of leaf sequences can be distinguished. The first 12 pages (leaf 1 through leaf 6v) date from 1872-1875 and are especially interesting. They carry various fragments of verse and prose, many of which found their way into sonnets that eventually formed part of the 1881 “House of Life; or into other poems. A significant group of these texts focuses on DGR's memory of his dead wife and her Beatricean significance for him. The remainder of the leaves (pages [13] to [23],leaves 7r to 12 carry material from a later date, 1878-1880. It is clear, especially from the pattern of pencil additions and ancellations, that DGR went back over earlier parts of the notebook while he was composing new materials in later parts of it. He thus used the notebook as a vehicle for a running process of composition and revision.

Three leaves are included here at the end of this documentary reconstruction of the notebook because they are physically uniform with the pages known to have been originally part of this notebook. They probably formed part of it as well, but this fact remains uncertain.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: nb0003.duke.rad.xml
Copyright: Digital images used with permission of the Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.