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This item is taken from PN Review 208, Volume 39 Number 2, November - December 2012.

Letters from Yukie Ando, Mike Freeman, Adam Watt
Portraits of Christina


Having studied Christina Rossetti for many years (I translated her Sing-Song: A Nursery-Rhyme Book into Japanese and published it in 2002) I would like to thank you for such an interesting article on her ('Pictures from a Library', PNR 204). The caption to the portrait says 'c. 1870s'; according to her brother, William Michael Rossetti, it was taken in May 1877. In 1905 William Michael published The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti with Memoir and Notes &c (London: Mac­millan). In this book he includes a list of her portraits and explains each of them. His account of No. 29 goes as follows:

It was in May 1877 that two photographs of Christina were taken by the skilled hands of Messers. Elliott and Fry; these are the only photographs of her which seem to retain currency at the present day. It was no fault of Messers. Elliott and Fry that neither portrait does her justice. They are both seated three-quarter figures, one of them in full face; this the sitter was accustomed to call 'the idiot,' and indeed it is sufficiently vacant-looking. The other is in profile, reading with lowered eyelids; it counts as the less unsatisfactory of the two. In both instances the eyeballs (from the cause to which I have already referred [i.e. Graves' disease]) are rather unpleasantly prominent. (p. lxv, emphasis mine)

The portrait 'in full face' is the one shown in PNR.

Emeritus Professor,
Osaka Prefecture University, Japan
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Own Goal


Roger Caldwell's account (PNR 207) of the 'curious case' of Terry Eagleton is a neat diagnosis, though an anthropological parallel cries out too, say with the Pueblo Americans in Arizona. Eagleton is surely our community Trickster Shape-Changer, a tribal function which legitimises his shifts from Salford citizen to Reconstructed Irish, from youthful Catholic to Marxist Elder, from arch-theorist to after-theorist, from wandering scholar to caped crusader. He is our pay-rolled funster punster who can trick even our proof-readers as gatekeeper morphs into goalkeeper. Caldwell reminds us we still need our Johnsons and Empsons, but they too were pranksters in their day. Perhaps our tribal culture enjoys an Oscar Wilde redivivus for each generation, with Terry's seven types of high pranksterdom as our shape-changing shaman.



Roger Caldwell's spirited de(con)struction of Terry Eagleton (PNR 207) was a bracing read but should perhaps be corrected on a point of detail. During the 2010 Football World Cup Eagleton wrote a piece for the Guardian entitled 'Football: a dear friend to capitalism' in which he remarked that 'Nobody serious about political change can shirk the fact that the game has to be abolished.' It should be no surprise, then, that the title of the critic's 2001 memoir is not The Goalkeeper, as Caldwell has it, but in fact The Gatekeeper - a reference to one of ten-year-old Eagleton's roles at a Carmelite convent in Salford. Camus does get a mention, though, in The Meaning of Life (pp. 101-102).

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This item is taken from PN Review 208, Volume 39 Number 2, November - December 2012.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to
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