Date 1876-04-01
Publication Academy
Topic WMR reviews Hake's "New Symbols" poetry collection
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Subject literature
Keywords Hake
  ↳ "New Symbols"
  ↳ poetic imagery
  ↳ met.
Standards poetic theory
  ↳ aesthetic imagery
Notes Reader authority
  ↳ imagination and invention, symbolism.

Annotation details

76 April 1 Academy


Review of Hake's "New Symbols" poetry collection.


Rossetti, William M. "New Symbols." Academy (April 1, 1876): 204. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


Rossetti reviews Thomas Gordon Hake's volume of twelve poems of a metaphoric or, as he terms it, "allegoric" design. He implies that this form of poetry is innovative, or at least, outside of the mainstream poetic transaction of meaning transfer and image creation for several reasons.

First, Rossetti suggests an authority for image and meaning residing within the reader, rather than within the poet. This contrasts with his normal statements regarding painting, which include the recommendation that catalogues accompany exhibitions, written largely by the exhibitors, so that viewers can discover the true or intended (as if they were one and the same) meaning of the art work.

On the other hand, despite suggesting that "to different minds different things will be imparted," Rossetti offers an extrapolation of symbols and imagery for each of the twelve poems, explaining the "allegory" and metaphor as it occurs to him. He offers an explanation of the poetic design after his analysis, which that "the first meaning lies on the surface, and counts for much even at last, but which advisedly and essentially lead on the mind to larger reaches of thought, and multiplex analogies."

Rossetti states that the work is an "unalloyed success," and that Dr. Hake is entitled to "a high place among our living poets," although the qualification in that statement in some ways might diminish the praise. "The essence of his genius," says Rossetti, "is in contemplation."

This review also reflects some of Rossetti's own ideas regarding imagination and poetic invention, most of which is consonant with similar theories he held regarding both factors in art.

Hake was in Rossetti's inner circle of friends and Hake's son was employed by Dante Rossetti as his personal assistant for several years before parting ways under less than amicable circumstances. Also, Rossetti expressed gratitude to Hake for attending Dante Rossetti as physician through his final days (Reminiscences 2:335-337).

Rossetti, William Michael. Some Reminiscences of William Michael Rossetti. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner, 1906. Print.




Hake, "New Symbols", poetic imagery, metaphor

Standards of Judgment:

Poetic theory, effective imagery

Rhetoric and tone:

evaluative, definitive