English 9164A

The Pre-Raphaelites

Instructor: Professor D.M.R. Bentley
Fall Half Course.

Using as a focal point and lens the poetry, painting, and short fiction of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, this seminar will study the works and aesthetics of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848-53), its associates, and its successors.  After situating the Pre-Raphaelites in the political, religious, and aesthetic contexts of the Victorian period and examining some of their principal paintings, the seminar will focus on Rossetti’s depiction of different female types: the Virgin Mary in such works as “Ave,” the prostitute or “fallen woman” in such works as “Jenny,” and the femme fatale in such works as Lilith. In addition to providing seminar members with a broad, detailed, and enriching understanding of Pre-Raphaelitism, the seminar will examine Rossetti’s later poetry and painting in the aesthetic and symbolist modes and briefly chart the impact of Pre-Raphaelite art, literature, and ideas not only on William Morris, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, and other Victorians, but also on such major Modernists as W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot.