The Rossetti Archive
The Rossetti Archive is a digital archive that “facilitates the scholarly study of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.” Rossetti is most known through his life’s work. He spent most of his life as a writer, designer, painter, and translator. Due to his wide ranging abilities, Rossetti has been called “the most important and original artistic force in the second half of the nineteenth century in Great Britain.” In general, the media that is available to the general public is solely technology based. However there is the ability to view first-rate “digital images of every surviving documentary state of DGR’s works: all the manuscripts, proofs, and original editions, as well as the drawings, paintings, and designs of various kinds, including his collaborative photographic and craft works.” Overall, it is a very comprehensive collection of Rossetti’s works.
The entire collection of works is edited by Jerome J. McGann under the New Haven: Yale University Press. He is currently a professor in the English department at the University of Virginia and has been there since 1989. He has published a multitude of works on Dante Gabriel Rossetti in his many years in academia. The entirety of the Rossetti Archives is freely distributed by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities or IATH.
Since the Rossetti Archive was created in spring of 2000. This first installment was centered on Rossetti’s poems from 1870 and any pictures that accompanied these poems. The site was updated in the summer of 2002 and marking the addition of the “first all the textual and pictorial materials that center in DGR’s 1861 book of translations, The Early Italian Poets.” The website was then updated again in the summer of 2005. This third installment was focused on the Ballads and Sonnets and the A New Edition that Rossetti published around the year 1881. All the material related to these two pieces was also published to the site in 2005. The most recent installment of Rossetti’s works to the site was in December of 2007. This new material focused on “bringing in all posthumous material and ensuring that all texts have been thoroughly proofed.” Quite recently they have updated their site by a new search engine option in to the site so that user can better utilize the site and find what they are looking for much easier.
How to Navigate the Site:
By typing in http://www.rossettiarchive.org into the address bar, one will find themselves on the homes page of the Rossetti Archive. This is what the home page of the Rossetti Archives website looks like. It briefly describes the website, the mission that the website is striving to achieve, and the rich history it is trying to preserve. More can be found by clicking the “about the archive” on the navigation bar. When searching for any of Rossetti’s works, the most important link on the search bar is “exhibits and objects”. This leads the user to a multitude of Rossetti’s works, literary and artistic.
The “Exhibits and Objects” portion of the Rossetti Archive is made of mostly of Rossetti’s works that he created throughout his lifetime, but also a fair amount of information to help people better understand Rossetti. The works are divided up by who created them as well as by general genre. The first portion (as seen in the image) is devoted to the works of Rossetti alone. It is divided into nine categories, each devoted to a different type of work that Rossetti under took. The second box has to deal with works that are related to Rossetti’s works. It is a wide array of information, but all of it was written by people other than Rossetti himself.
Finally, the third establishes a working timeline for readers. This helps to distinguish when different works were written and any biographical information that may influence his works.
After selecting a particular genre to view, the users will be taken to a page similar to this image. Each section offers a description of Rossetti’s work within that particular genre. That can be found on the left side of the page. There is also, on the right side of the page, an alphabetical list of Rossetti’s works within the each genre. If there is a work with a particular beginning letter, all one must do is click on that letter. This alphabet bar can be seen, highlighted by a red box in the image.
Everything about this site is user friendly. Should the user feel the inclination to want to look at the work in Chronological view, all they need to do is select it on the page. It is under the red alphabet bar. This offers for easy switch between the two views. There is also a wonderful feature when it comes to the double works, pictures, and poems where the user can choose to view them in a timeline format. If this is available, it will appear next to the chronological option. This makes it very easy for users to track the particular works they are using through history.
When the user selects a work, they will be taken to a page that looks like the image you see here. Each work comes with a vast amount of knowledge attached. This is to help the user to get the most out of each work. The right side of this information page is dedicated to a small description and a bibliography. This assists the users in correctly citing the work if utilized. The left side of the page is usually filled with a scholarly commentary on the piece. This is accompanied by images of paintings and/or manuscripts that can be clicked on. This links the user a larger version of the images of the paintings or scanned copies of the manuscripts of Rossetti’s.
Should the user have a particular work in mind, there is an easy search option. Upon selecting the “search engine” option on the navigation bar, they will be directed to a page that looks similar to this image. The search engine gives the user multiple different ways to find said work. They are able to search by title, Boolean phrase, phrase, genre, and name. There is also the option of restricting the search to heighten the chance of getting the right results.
The first piece that I found to be extremely interesting was his painting, The Announcement. The first thing that amazed me the most was that this highly detailed piece was done in watercolor. His demand of color and movement is eye catching and thought provoking. When I saw this piece, it made me think of the piece we read by Rossetti entitled “The Portrait”. D.G. Rossetti seems to write of the beauty and glory of a particular woman. Rossetti lusts for her beauty. I thought of this piece when looking at this painting simply because Mary (the blessed virgin) is portrayed her as a beautiful yet modest woman that any man would love. She is the prime example for what women of the time should be. They were meant to be mothers and totally willing to do the will of god or their husband. The dove in the painting also represents the purity of god and honor of those present. All in all, this painting is a slight nudge to the angel in the house ideal set forth for women and the highly religious nature of society at the time.
This image was one that I also found to be interesting. It is entitled Ada Vernon and was drawn in 1863. It makes me think of Rossetti’s dear love, Elizabeth Siddal, an important model for the Pre-Raphaelite painters. He painted her for a long time, until he finally decided to marry her. He then became the only one to draw/ paint her. Similar to the first image I found so intriguing, I instantly made a connection to Rossetti’s work “The Portrait.” He often painted and wrote about her often. This picture seems to be the visual representation of that entire poem.
After doing more research on this archive, I think that I have gained a greater understanding of each piece that I read of Rossetti’s works. Through the ability to read scholarly articles on each piece, I gained a fuller understanding of the meaning each piece has. Overall, I find this archive to be a great help for those seeking to gather a better understanding of the great works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
McGann, Jerome. The Rossetti Archive. The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.
Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth Century Electronic Scholarship. 2008. Web.
Rossetti, Dante G. D.G. Ada Vernon. 1863. The Rossetti Archive. Web.
Rossetti, Dante G. Alas, The Annunciation. 1861. The Rossetti Archive. Web.
Rossetti, Dante G. The Portrait. Poems. 1869. The Rossetti Archive. Web.