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Journal Article

Political Themes in the Work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

D. M. R. Bentley
Victorian Poetry
Vol. 17, No. 3 (Autumn, 1979), pp. 159-179
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40002568
Page Count: 21
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Political Themes in the Work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
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Abstract

Contrary to the established views, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was not indifferent to political issues but exhibited a lifelong, if sporadic, interest in current English and European events. From early sonnets such as "At the Sun-Rise in 1848" and "On the Refusal of Aid between Nations," through the important "Burden of Nineveh," to a later historical ballad such as "The King's Tragedy" Rossetti displays a keen, judicious, and often satirical consciousness of political events and themes, as well as of related social and religious issues. An examination of Rossetti's excursions into the realm of politics reveals that, while he was mainly pessimistic in his assessment of man's present and future, the Christian framework within which he treats issues like the conflict between monarchy and democracy, authority and liberty, rescues his political utterances from skepticism. 180

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