English 9164

The Pre-Raphaelites: THeir Associates and their Heirs

Instructor: Professor David Bentley
Fall Half Course.

Using as a focal point and lens the poetry, painting, and short fiction of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, this seminar would study the works and aesthetics of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848-53), its associates, and its heirs.  After situating the Pre-Raphaelites in the political, religious, and aesthetic contexts of the late Romantic and early Victorian periods and examining some of their principal paintings, the seminar would 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 would examine Rossetti’s later poetry and painting in the aesthetic and symbolist modes. It would then (largely in the second term) chart the impact of Pre-Raphaelite art, literature, and ideas on a variety of contemporary and later writers and artists, including Christina Rossetti, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Simeon Solomon, Walter Pater, Aubrey Beardsley, Oscar Wilde, and such major Modernists as W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot.