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The poems of Elizabeth Siddal in context$
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Anne Woolley

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781526143846

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526143853

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Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the duality of love

Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the duality of love

Chapter:
(p.16) 1 Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the duality of love
Source:
The poems of Elizabeth Siddal in context
Author(s):

Anne Woolley

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526143853.00007

The chapter begins with an examination of the Siddal drawing Pippa Passes before looking at the depiction of prostitution in Victorian art and poetry. The same dualism between earthly and spiritual love is found in fourteen sonnets in Rossetti’s The House of Life sequence, poems buried with Siddal and later exhumed, to be read with four Siddal works here. Their personal relationship is explored, as well as that between Rossetti and his earlier muse, Dante’s Beatrice, and models Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. Victorian, and specifically Pre-Raphaelite, concepts of beauty are discussed and illustrated. The construction and rationale of sonnet sequences by C. Rossetti and Barrett Browning are examined alongside The House of Life with emphasis on the ability of the latter to create an adaptable pathway through the experience of sexual love. The Tractarian and spiritualist beliefs of the Rossetti family are investigated and compared with that of Siddal. Images of love in Rossetti and Siddal poems open up a dialogue that points to shared and varied depictions but different solutions to the dualism, with Siddal entering into a search for the self by questioning the role of human and religious relationships.

Keywords:   Beatrice, exhumation, Fanny Cornforth, Jane Morris, Pre-Raphaelite concepts of beauty, prostitution, sonnet sequence, spiritualism, The House of Life, Tractarianism

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