A short note on periodical Germ, Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art

Germ, Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art is a periodical established by Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to express their ideas and views on art. It ran for four issues, of which the first issue appeared on 1 January 1850 and the last appeared on 30 April 1850; and the last two were renamed Art and Poetry, Being Thoughts towards Nature. On the cover of each number appears a sonnet composed by WMR. It was edited by W. M. Rossetti.

The title of the periodical The Germ refers to the Pre-Raphaelite belief in the importance of nature (a germ is a seed) and of the human imagination, as implied by the phrase “the germ of an idea”. They hoped that the magazine would be a seed from which new creative ideas would grow. It was subtitled thoughts towards nature in art and literature to emphasize the editors’ belief that poetry and art should be closely intertwined.

It contained works by D. G. Rossetti (including ‘The Blessed Damozel’ and ‘Hand and Soul’), Christina Rossetti, Coventry Patmore, Ford Madox Brown (1821–93), William Bell Scott, Thomas Woolner, James Collinson, and others. It provided a brief but significant platform for the aims and ideals of the early years of the Brotherhood and was credited by W. M. Rossetti as the inspiration behind William Morris’s continuation of Pre-Raphaelite impetus in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (1856).

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