Some Reminiscences by William Michael Rossetti
William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919) made himself the diarist, chronicler and champion of one of the most creative Victorian families. This two-volume memoir of 1906 provides an unparalleled glimpse into the dynamics of the Rossettis, covering his own childhood and that of his siblings, the genesis of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and friendships with such outstanding figures as Morris, Burne-Jones, Swinburne and the Brownings. In fact, many of the members of the Victorian art and literary world make an appearance at some point in these volumes. But what is so engaging about the work is the way in which William Michael treats these personalities straightforwardly and unpretentiously. Especially fascinating are the observations that deal with intimate family details, his thoughts about brother Dante Gabriel and his attitude to sister Christina as her work developed. Though what he says is not always completely candid, his remarks remain uniquely informed, subtle and telling.