Reviews

Christmas Eve and Easter Day: by Robert Browning.

Robert Browning's Christmas Eve and Easter Day is a long, octosyllabic, irregularly rhymed poem in two parts. "Christmas Eve" is a narrative which combines visionary and realistic elements. It presents denominational religion as an imperfect medium for divine truth, and emphasizes the necessity of choosing one's own best method for worship. "Easter Day" is a dialogue which explores the difficulties of maintaining the Christian faith and argues that doubt is essential to faith. The poem was published on April 1, 1850 and sold for six shillings. 200 copies (out of approximately 1000) were sold before April 15, but sales slowed tremendously, in spite of William Michael Rossetti's praise, and the publishers, Chapman and Hall, were left with a great many copies on their hands.

While William Rossetti was not alone in praising the volume, most reviews were ambivalent (offering guarded or back-handed compliments) and some were openly hostile:

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In his introduction to the 1901 facsimile of The Germ, William Michael Rossetti comments on his review of Browning:

"The only observation I need make upon this review-- which was merely intended as introductory to a fuller estimate of the poem, to appear in an ensuing number of 'The Germ'-- is that it exemplifies that profound cultus of Robert Browning which, commenced by Dante Rossetti, had permeated the whole of the Preraphaelite Brotherhood, and formed not less than some other ideas, a bond of union among them" (27).