Two Rossetti Sonnets Commemorating a Momentous Occasion

A Sonnet is a moment's monument,—

Memorial from the soul's eternity

To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,

Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,

Of its own intricate fulness reverent:

Carve it in ivory or in ebony,

As Day or Night prevail; and let Time see

Its flowering crest impearled and orient.

A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals

The Sonnet and the Sequence

Rossetti's “Sonnet on the Sonnet” served not only as a gift for his mother's birthday and a reflection on a favorite poetic form. Placed at the head of The House of Life, a sonnet sequence on which Rossetti had been working for more than a dozen years, it also introduced the best known and most complete version of that work when it was published in 1881.

General Introduction

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem, "The Sonnet," is a testament to the ideals of the aesthetic movement; wedding form and content, it makes a statement about the idealizing purposes of art while illustrating the best way to achieve that purpose in the very stylistic features of a poem. The poem also betrays a number of concerns about the relation of a given aesthetic production to its reader. Is this poem a personal gift (pro Matre fecit) made for the occasion of DGR’s mother’s eightieth birthday?

Trial and Success: A Non-DH Savvy Professor Adopts COVE

I came to COVE for multiple reasons but being technologically savvy was not one of them. While I had always used the online course management systems that my university provided, I didn’t do so in innovative ways. I posted assignments, and I had students post responses to excerpts. In other words, I used the online course management systems in ways that saved my students and myself a few paper copies, not in ways that intellectually enhanced our classroom experience.


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