THE SONGWRITER AS POET:
IAN MCCULLOCH AND THE PRE-RAPHAELITE TRADITION
Kristin F. Smith
Chapter 18: Table of Contents, Notes and Sources
PART ONE: WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE?
Chapter 1: Of Ian McCulloch
Chapter 2: Pre-Raphaelite People and Principles
PART TWO: MCCULLOCH AND ROSSETTI
Chapter 3: The Thematic Backdrop
Chapter 4: The Idealized Woman
Chapter 5: Rossetti and McCulloch Confront the Evil Woman
Chapter 6: Salvation Through Romantic Love
Chapter 7: Religious Ambiguity
Chapter 8: Transience and Resilience
Chapter 9: Public Success and Private Vision
Chapter 10: Impediments to the Creative Drive
Chapter 11: Maintaining the Creative Flame
Chapter 12: The Artist and the World
Chapter 13: The Larger Canvas
PART THREE: MCCULLOCH AS POET
Chapter 14: Structural Devices in Ian McCulloch's Work
Chapter 15: McCulloch's Imagery
Chapter 16: McCulloch's Use of Language
PART FOUR: MCCULLOCH AS PRE-RAPHAELITE
Chapter 17: Ian McCulloch As a Pre-Raphaelite; And What Became of the Originals
Chapter 18: Table of Contents, Notes and Sources
A Printer-Friendly Version of This Essay
NOTES [These notes are also hyperlinked in the text on the appropriate pages]
Note 1: "Saw Miss Siddal," noted Rossetti's friend Ford Madox Brown in his diary on October 6th, 1853, "looking thinner and more deathlike and more beautiful and more ragged than ever." In April, 1860, Rossetti wrote to Brown from a health resort where he and Lizzie were staying: "She has seemed ready to die daily and more than once a day…. It makes me feel as if I'd been dug out of a vault." Just what ailed the lady is entirely unclear. Ruskin's doctor, who examined her in 1856, found no serious disease. Georgiana Burne-Jones, a very perceptive woman, noted that she could never understand how "poor dear Lizzie" could be so ill for so long and never develop any particular symptoms.
Note 2: It is difficult to date many of Rossetti's earlier poems. Some existed only in the notebook he buried with Lizzie Siddal Rossetti in 1862. When he recovered the manuscript in 1869, he revised it extensively, giving all the poems the skill and polish of his mature style. Lovesight has the delicate, dream quality suggestive of Lizzie Siddal, and the second part of the sonnet forebodes the loss of the Beloved:
"O love, my love! if I no more should see
Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee,
Nor image of thine eyes in any spring…." [DGR; Lovesight; 1869]
Note 3: The Ship of Fools  is the title of a painting by Hieronymous Bosch. It has been interpreted variously, most often as a commentary on humanity or, more specifically, on the corrupt Church of Bosch's time. That McCulloch has the former interpretation in mind is suggested by another song from the same period as Ship of Fools. In Lover I Love , the Poet remarks to the Beloved: "You and I bought a ticket on a floating zoo" [IM; Lover I Love; CRYSTAL DAYS (retrospective box set); 2001]. Early McCulloch inspiration Jim Morrison was much influenced by Bosch and also did a song titled Ship of Fools. It bears little relation to the McCulloch song. McCulloch has mentioned Bosch in interviews.
Note 4: This may also reference the Richard Farina song, Pack Up Your Sorrows, which bears similarities in theme to In Bluer Skies, Ocean Rain, and the closing refrain of Nothing Lasts Forever. Farina wrote a novel, BEEN DOWN SO LONG IT SEEMS LIKE UP TO ME, which is (possibly) referenced in Too Far Gone.
Note 5: Rossetti's older sister, Maria, herself a Dante scholar, became an Anglican nun. The younger, Christina, was a poet whose fame rivals his. Much of her poetry was devotional, and her secular, Pre-Raphaelite works show strong religious influences.
Note 6: The relevant lines are:
"My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds" [William Butler Yeats; An Irish Airman Foresees His Death]
Note 7: But Hunt was no proselytizer. Far from being Jerry Falwell with a paintbrush, he acknowledged that there are many roads to the truth, and disapproved of efforts to convert Jews, Muslims and others. This attitude hardened after a bad experience in the 1850s with the missionary community in Jerusalem. See George P. Landow, William Holman Hunt and the Missionaries [THE PRE-RAPHAELITE REVIEW, 1 (1977), 27--33.]: http://www.thecore.nus.edu.sg/landow/victorian/painting/whh/whhmission.html
Note 8: "But the motive powers of art … demand first of all an inner standing-point. The heart of such a mystery as this must be plucked from the very world in which it beats or bleeds; and the beauty and pity, the self-questionings and all-questionings which it brings with it, can come with full force only from the mouth of one alive to its whole appeal…." [DGR; The Stealthy School of Criticism; 1871]. Rossetti is here defending his poem Jenny [1848/1869], which deals with prostitution. See Note 9 below.
Note 9: A strong case may be made that Rossetti was ultimately destroyed by a vicious and personal critical attack, The Fleshly School of Poetry . Evelyn Waugh gives a good account of these events and their consequences in ROSSETTI: HIS LIFE AND WORKS . Yes, this is Evelyn Waugh the famous novelist.
Note 10: For an excellent version of the Middle Ages which does contain serfs, pigs and mud, see Ken Follett's novel, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH.
Note 11: McCulloch has toyed with this conceit a number of times over the years, most famously in Thorn of Crowns [OCEAN RAIN; 1984]. This work is referenced in at least two later songs:
"And the world fell down
When the moon was blue
And you wore a crown
And the word was true" [IM; Pomegranate; MYSTERIO; 1992]
"Charlie clown wore a crown
In my town" [IM; Antelope; single; 1997]
McCulloch has also been known to strike crucifixion poses on stage. Electrafixion, the name under which McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant initially worked after reuniting in 1994, combines the words 'electrocution' and 'crucifixion'. They said it came from a dream Sergeant had in which McCulloch was being crucified on an electric, barbed-wire fence. Apparently, McCulloch is not the only member of the duo with imaginative capability.
Note 12: This has long been the case. Prime examples from the 19th Century are Franz Liszt and Lord Byron (whom Lady Caroline Lamb famously described as "mad, bad and dangerous to know".)
Note 13: Empire State Halo for me conjures images of Mark Helprin's wonderful WINTER'S TALE: old-time New York blanketed in winter snow; angels flying around the Empire State building; romance and magic and mystery in the air. This is probably not the scenario McCulloch had in mind, but I like this vision, and I am going to keep it.
Note 14: Pear's bought the rights to the picture without Millais' permission, and he did strongly protest the ad. But apparently Bubbles was just what the soap company wanted.
Note 15: One need only glance over the complete lists of Rossetti's paintings, drawings, poems, prose works and translations to realize the tragic absurdity of this notion: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu:2020/archive.html
Special accolades should be given The Rossetti Archive: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu:2020/archive.html
This incredible website (still a work in progress) will contain texts of all Rossetti's written work, and images of all his visual works, as well as full texts of some biographies and other secondary sources. The quotations from Rossetti's works which I have used here come from the Archive's on-line texts.
Chief sources of current information about Ian McCulloch and Echo and the Bunnymen are their "official website": Bunnymen.com, and Bunnymen.info - The (Unofficial) News Source. An Annotated Discography and Villiers Terrace both provide extensive discography listings. All of McCulloch's lyrics are posted online in the Villiers Terrace lyrics section.
ADHOC MAGAZINE: Ian McCulloch: Still Cool After All These Years February, 2002
Barlow, Paul (author of a forthcoming biography of Millais to be published by Ashgate Press): e-mail to Kristin F. Smith
Brown, Ford Madox; Madox, Ford B.; Surtees, Virginia (Editor): THE DIARY OF MADOX BROWN (Yale University Press, 1981)
Bryson, John (editor): DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI AND JANE MORRIS: THE CORRESPONDENCE; (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1976)
Burne-Jones, Lady Georgiana: MEMORIALS OF EDWARD BURNE-JONES (New York: Macmillan, 1906)
Doughty, Oswald and Wahl, John Robert (editors): LETTERS OF DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, 1828-1882; 4 volumes (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965-67)
Doughty, Oswald: A VICTORIAN ROMANTIC: DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI. London, Oxford University Press, 1960; 2nd edition)
Fletcher, Tony: NEVER STOP: THE ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN STORY (Omnibus Press, 1987).
Hardin, James: THE PRE-RAPHAELITES; (London, Academy edition, 1977)
Harrison, Anthony H.: Pre-Raphaelitism and Tractarianism (Chapter 3 of the author's CHRISTINA ROSSETTI IN CONTEXT; University of North Carolina Press, 1988): http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/crossetti/harrison2/3.3.html
Hunt, William Holman; PRE-RAPHAELITISM AND THE PRE-RAPHAELITE BROTHERHOOD (1905)
Jae-Ha Kim; Echoes of glory: Bunnymen take it from top; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES; May 23rd, 1997; pg. 7
Jenkins, Mark; Reflecting on Echo and the Bunnymen; THE WASHINGTON POST; July 6th, 2001
Mackail, J. W.; LIFE OF WILLIAM MORRIS; (Dover edition, 1995).
Powell, Alison; A whale of a band (interview with Echo & the Bunnymen lead singer Ian McCulloch); INTERVIEW; August 1st, 1997; (v27 n8); p38
Reynolds, Simon: Independents Day: Post-Punk 1979-81;
Ripley, Paul: VICTORIAN ART IN BRITAIN: http://www.victorianartinbritain.co.uk/biog/millais.htm
Rossetti, William Michael: DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI; HIS FAMILY-LETTERS WITH A MEMOIR (Boston, Robert Brothers, 1895)
Stratton, Jeff: Echoes of the Past; THE ONION (Volume 32 Issue 19, December 17 th, 1997)
Ruskin, John: MODERN PAINTERS (volume II); 1846
University of Toronto English Department: The Pre-Raphaelites; http://citd.scar.utoronto.ca/English/ENGB02Y/Pre-Raphaelites.html
Walsh, Nick Paton: Never say ever again (interview with IM); THE LONDON STUDENT; issue #9: http://www.londonstudent.org.uk/9issue/music/echo.htm
Waugh, Evelyn: ROSSETTI: HIS LIFE AND WORKS (London: Duckworth, 1928)
Zach, Paul: Bunnymen Still Hop To '80s Beat: Ian McCulloch Says Electronica Will Date Fast; interview with Ian McCulloch on ZACH'S SHACK website, October 24th, 1997
Previous Table of Contents
An Annotated Discography: Works by Echo and the Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Electrafixion and Glide (off-site link)
Echo and the Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch and Electrafixion: Album Reviews (off-site link)
The Bunnymen Concert Log: A comprehensive, annotated listing of concert dates, venues and set lists for Echo and the Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch and Electrafixion (off-site link)
Bunnymen.info - The (Unofficial) News Source (off-site link, run by Charles Pham)
Aldems' Political Quotations: Apt and Otherwise
BlindFool and Scruffy Dog: Dilettantes-at-Large
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