Gabriele Rossetti, poet, scholar, and revolutionary, born in Vasto, SE
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
[Poet's Corner Index]
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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