Study Guide

"Love's Nocturn," by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Digital Humanities

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"Love's Nocturn," by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Despite his fancy Italian name, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a full, 100% English poet and painter, who lived during the Victorian period. One of the first major projects in Digital Humanities was an online archive created by scholar Jerome McGann and his mates to house all of Rossetti's work. And we mean all of Rossetti's work—everything from poetry, to prose, to painting, to anything else he produced.

What's so cool about this archive is that it gives us a bird's eye view of Rossetti's writing: we have access to it all with just the touch of a button. On top of that, because all of his writing is housed in one online archive, we can do searches of his work to find patterns, themes, preoccupations, and specific words.

If you're interested, for example, in exploring the concept of "soul" in Rossetti's poetry, you can simply do a search for it in the archive's search engine and see which poems the word pops up in. That allows you to compare how Rossetti used the word in different poems and different contexts.

Here's one example from his poem "Love's Nocturn":

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