The House of Life: A Sonnet-sequence
Described by W.S. Blunt as 'the greatest of the all the great Victorian poems', this sequence of 103 sonnets was composed between 1847 and 1881, and finally published complete in Ballads and Sonnets just six months before Rossetti's death. These passionate celebrations of the ecstasy of love threatened by change and Fate inspired the Aesthetes and Decadents of the eighties and nineties, leading to Walter Pater's Mona Lisa and Oscar Wilde's Salome.BR > This new edition of Rossetti's poetic masterpiece is presented here with Introduction, Notes and definitive texts and date. All variants are given for each poem (some sonnets exist in as many as eight versions), and each sonnet is given a documented date of composition and first publication. The illustrations include some rarely-seen images, notably a self-portrait by Elizabeth Siddal, the poet's wife, in whose coffin he placed his original poems, only to exhume them eight years later. ROGER C. LEWIS is Emeritus Professor of English, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada.