ROSSETTI, Christina Georgina (1830-1894). Autograph manuscript (transcript) of an unpublished work, 'The Life of Giovanni Boccacio by Gaetano Polidori' (her grandfather), in English, written in her very neat and regular hand, inscribed by Gaetano Polidori to his daughter (Christina's mother) inside the upper cover, ('A Francesca Rossetti Il suo affezionatissimo padre Gaetano Polidori Londra ai 7 di Dicembre 1852'), on lined blue paper, 56½ pages, folio. Provenance: Halsted B. Vander Poel; and: William Michael ROSSETTI (1829-1919), brother of Christina and Dante Gabriel). Autograph note signed, confirming that the manuscript is in Christina's hand, one page, 8vo, mounted on first blank leaf; stitched in ivory card wrappers (dust-stained). Provenance: Halsted B. Vander Poel.
The Preface declares Polidori's intention to be the impartial biographer, believing himself to be 'the first writer who laying aside the language of unqualified praise, has dared to speak of Boccaccio according to his deserts', and the work concludes with a forceful reminder of, in the writer's opinion, the flawed character of his subject, 'one of the chief promoters of modern learning: a man of great genius, of indefatigable application and of unsullied integrity' but disgraced by 'a single vice which not only injured its votary during his life: but has turned the very evidence of his genius into a source of corruption to successive generations'.
William Rossetti's note says that Polidori wrote a life of Boccaccio ('the date may have been towards 1825'), of which he owns the manuscript, and that Christina copied it to please her grandfather. Gaetano Polidori (d.1853) taught Italian in London, and had been secretary to Alfieri. Christina was particularly close to her mother and to Polidori, who had a small private press on which he printed her first surviving poem in 1842, and a slim volume of her verses in 1847. There is no reference to the present manuscript in Christina Rossetti's Letters, ed. H. Harrison (1997-2000).