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D. G. Rossetti, precociously manifesting, among the exiled patriots who frequented his father's house in Charlotte Street, that queer indifference to politics which marked him in his prime and his decline.

Frontispiece from Max Beerbohm, Rossetti and His Circle, London: William Heinemann, 1922. WWW version and commentary by GPL].

The works of many other major Victorian writers, including Arnold, Carlyle, Dickens, Gaskell, Ruskin, and Trollope, responded directly to a range of contemporary political and social issues from chartism, unemployment, and women's rights to education and the environment. Both Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Rossetti's friend, Swinburne, concerned themselves with Italian unification and liberty. In contrast, except for "The Last Confession" and "Jenny," none of his poems concerned political or social issues, which is just one of the reasons Beerbohm's conceit of having John Morley propose that he illustrate J. S. Mill's feminist tract appears so comical (see "Mr. Morley brings Mr. Mill," plate 18.)

Last modified 18 May 2006