Jenny (early fair copy, Delaware Art Museum)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Jenny
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of composition: 1864? (early to mid-1860)
Type of Manuscript: fair copy, holograph
Collation: 7 pages on 4 leaves
Note: The text is lightly but distinctly marked with pencil crossout lines, indicating DGR's rejection of the text.
Scribe: DGR
Corrector: DGR


Current Location: Delaware Art Museum, Bancroft Collection
Catalog Number: Box 22 nos. 47-53.
Note: First three sheets purchased from Dodd, Mead and Co. in 1894; fourth sheet purchased from T. J. Wise in 1927. The manuscripts originally came from WMR's collection.

Physical Description

Paper: Text on four leaves from typical lined notebook paper, measuring 20.7 x 16.3 cm.

Scholarly Commentary


This text is the earliest surviving manuscript of the poem; it represents a major revision of the first version done in 1847-1848 by DGR, when the poet wrote the poem in a non-dramatic form.

The Delaware MS is dated 1847-48 at the end. This date on the MS—like the date on the Morgan MS of “The Blessed Damozel”—signifies not the date the document was written but that of the poem's early composition. The Delaware MS would have been produced in early or mid-1860.

The Delaware MS, a fair copy with some corrections made at uncertain dates, must represent DGR's effort to revise the earliest text (no documents of the latter appear to survive). In The Stealthy School of Criticism (1871), DGR said he wrote the poem 13 years before—obviously a reference to the work represented by the Delaware MS. The remark suggests as well that the latter involved a root and branch recasting of the early version.

The Delaware MS of the poem is copied on four pages torn from one of DGR's characteristic small lined notebooks. The notebook would have been the one he gave to Ruskin in the early months of 1860 (see DGR's letter to Allingham, 31 July 1860 in Fredeman, Correspondence , vol. 2, 305-307). It was upon this draft that Ruskin made his criticisms of Jennyalong with other poems in the notebook (WMR, Ruskin, Rossetti, Preraphaelitism233-235). Ruskin's letter to Rossetti on the poems is dated conjecturally 1859 by WMR ( RRP, 233) but it almost certainly dates from October 1860, after Ruskin returned from his trip to the continent.

The Delaware Art Museum preserves an interesting body of materials associated with this manuscript. These materials include letters by various persons, including T. J. Wise and Bancroft, in which the character of the manuscript is discussed.

Textual History: Composition

Composed early-mid 1860 as a complete recasting of the first (non-dramatic) version of the poem, which was done in 1847-1848, as the date on this manuscript shows.

Textual History: Revision

The manuscript shows only slight revisions, but the whole of the text is lightly cancelled in pencil by long sweeping crossout lines. These lines indicate that DGR, in copying the poem into the notebook that he buried with his wife in 1862, altered the text yet once more.


This text seems far more revealing, in a personal way, than the received version of the poem. The non-dramatic first version of the poem comes through in this text quite strongly at various points, not least of all perhaps in the concluding verse paragraph.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 3-1848.delms.rad.xml