Gabriele Rossetti

Gabriele Rossetti, poet, scholar, and revolutionary, born in Vasto, SE Italy, on February 28, 1783, best known as the father of four exceptionally talented children: Maria Francesca, Dante Gabriel, William Michael, and Christina. His support for Italian revolutionary nationalism forced him into political exile in 1821.

¹ Rossetti was the son of a blacksmith and was clever enough to be able to study at the University of Naples. In 1807 he was librettist at the San Carlo opera house in Naples and was later appointed curator of ancient marbles and bronzes in the Capodimonte Museum in Naples.

¹ He frequently improvised spirited verses on contemporary politics; one indignant outburst directed against Ferdinand II, the tyrant king of Naples who had revoked the Constitution in 1821, added to Rossetti's membership in the revolutionary society Carbonari, provoked the sentence of death. After a time in hiding, he escaped to England via Malta in 1824 (where he stayed for three years then settling in London ). There he supported himself by giving Italian lessons and wrote a commentary on Dante's La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy), of which only two volumes were published (1825 and 1826).

Besides writing poetry he was a close student of Dante, whose Inferno he maintained was chiefly political and anti-papal. He wrote patriotic and liberal verse in Italian and a curious study attempting to show that Dante had written as spokesman for a vast, secret, ritualistic society opposed to tyranny. He published several critical works that established him as an authority on the great Italian poet Dante.

¹ In 1826 he had married Frances Mary Lavinia Polidori, deemed the cleverest and best looking of four daughters of another Italian teacher and man of letters, Gaetano Polidori, Tuscan by birth but Londoner by adoption.

He held the post of Professor of Italian at King's College London from 1831, until his failing eyesight led to his retirement in 1847. He remained in England, until his death.

¹ The Rossetti family was a remarkable group. All its members were endowed with unusual intelligence, were equally at home with the languages and literary traditions of both England and Italy, and were united among themselves by close ties of affection and mutual understanding. The talents and characteristics they shared were combined with creative gifts of a high order.

His romantic poem Il veggente in solitudine (the seer in solitude) was published in 1846 and his autobiography in 1849. Rossetti died in 1854.



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Reference, Research and Source Information

The History Channel

¹ Rossetti, Gabriele. (2006).
In Encyclopędia Britannica.
Retrieved June 4, 2006, from Encyclopędia Britannica Premium Service:

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