Date 1851-08-01
Publication London Lit.
Topic Refute Critic's review of Emerson
AP display
RA display
Subject literature
Keywords Emerson portrait
  ↳ Scott
  ↳ Critic review
Standards authenticity
  ↳ accuracy
Notes Debunk Critic reviewer's Scott reference
  ↳ Reminiscences ref.

Annotation details

51 August 1 London Literary Journal


WMR defending Emerson's "Complete Works"


Rossetti, William M. "Correspondence." London Literary Journal 10 (1851): 363. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


Rossetti writes to The London Literary Journal to refute a review of Emerson's poetry published the month prior (The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Critic; Jul 15, 1851; 10, 247; British Periodicals pg. 326). In the July 15 review, the Critic reviewer proceeds from a discussion of David Scott's portrait of Emerson who the critic says Scott finds to be disappointing and "on the whole, insincere." Scott's alleged disappointment in Emerson, according to the reviewer, is evident in Scott's portrait of Emerson. The reviewer says Scott found Emerson and his outlook on life to be insincere and in some measure-mostly religious-both false and even blasphemous. The reviewer states that Scott hid his disappointment and portrayed Emerson as he should have been rather than as he actually was.

Rossetti establishes a view that conflicts with the reviewer's appraisal of Emerson mentioning "from my private knowledge, the opinions entertained of Emerson personally by men of recognized mental standing" which he says he will nonetheless not cite.

Rossetti contradicts the reviewer's reference to Scott's portrait of Emerson and quotes the memoir of Scott's brother and biographer that directly refutes the reviewer's claim regarding David Scott's disappointment in Emerson. The quote refers to the actually painting of Emerson completed and viewed by Scott's brother who was upon first viewing the portrait surprised that Emerson's appear is "severe, dry and hard" but at the same time, "elevated, simple, kind and truthful." Rossetti states that Scott the biographer is in agreement with Rossetti on this matter.




Emerson, Scott portrait, Critic review

Standard of criticism:

aesthetics, fairness; authenticity

Rhetorical mode:

Rebuttal, definitive