Pre-Raphaelite Poet: Christina Rossetti

Updated on August 19, 2017
ziyena profile image

Indie author of historical romance and paranormal novellas and a history buff.

Portrait of Christina by Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Portrait of Christina Rossetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti  circa 1866 Colored chalk on blue-gray paper
Portrait of Christina Rossetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti circa 1866 Colored chalk on blue-gray paper | Source

“She is the finest woman-poet since Mrs. Browning, by a long way; and in artless art, if not in intellectual impulse, is greatly Mrs. Browning’s superior.” ~ William Sharp in The Atlantic Monthly (June 1895)

Childhood Advantage

Christina Georgina Rossetti entered the world in 1830 and destined for a life of literary influence. As the daughter of an exiled Italian poet, Gabriele Rossetti and sister to a rising artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Christina had every advantage to succeed, while living at Charlotte Street in the brownstone rows of upper-class London.

Here she learned the foundations that would propel her on an unusual journey for a woman of her day. Not many females in Victorian England at that time had the opportunity to separate themselves from the confines of society's restrictions when it came to the proper expectations of a well-bred young woman where women were seen and not heard. However, Christina managed to walk the boundaries of societal acceptance and her questionable role overlooked given the fame of her artist brother.

Rossetti started her literary excellence at an early age. Before her parents had ever tutored her in the arts of writing she had already dictated her stories, showing her aptitude for literature. Influenced by the works of Keats and Dante Alighieri, Christina developed her own writing style that would later on set the tone in her work, placing great importance on poetry.

Rossetti Home

A
50 charlotte st, bloomsbury:
50 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T, UK

get directions

John Brett

Self Portrait 1883
Self Portrait 1883 | Source

Young Love

Christina found love in her late teens. James Collinson, an artist and member of her brother Dante's Pre-Raphaelite movement was the first of several suitors to win over her hand. Engaged in 1850, the union did not last long due his choice in religious pursuit which did not align with Christina's revolutionary stance. Another suitor, Charles Cayley, a Linguist whom she had a brief romance, but also ended the relationship on the grounds of his religious pursuit. Though not much has been documented about her romance with the artist John Brett, the relationship ended with her resolute refusal and most likely due to the fact that Christina wanted to concentrate on her future writing career.

Drawing of Rossetti

"Portrait of Christina Rossetti; head and shoulders, turned slightly to left, hair drawn up into a plaited chignon."   circa 1848
"Portrait of Christina Rossetti; head and shoulders, turned slightly to left, hair drawn up into a plaited chignon." circa 1848 | Source

Critical Analysis of Rossetti's Literary Career

"Rossetti's work is unequaled for its objective expression of happiness denied and a certain unfamiliar, steely stoicism." ~ Phillip Larkin

Career and Recognition

Rossetti's first real break in the literary world happened in 1862 when she entered her early thirties. Goblin Market and Other Poems, which the critics praised her work and set the stage for a literary career as a female poet. Stuck in the shadows of her greatest poetic work, Rossetti found it hard to overcome the rave review success of Goblin Market, and following, any other poems which she published did not measure up to her first work. As an alternative, she took another path, writing children's stories and Christian themed prose. Some of her recognized work in these genres included: Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book (1872) and Called to be Saints (1876). Even though Rossetti switched the tone of her literary career, she did not completely stop writing poetry. In 1881, she compiled and published A Pageant and Other Poems, which gained notoriety after years focusing on the later craft.

Examples of Published Works

Poem: "Remember"

"Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun." ~ Christina Rossetti

Later Years

Portrait of Christina Rossetti 1877
Portrait of Christina Rossetti 1877 | Source

Rossetti's Final Days

Like her brother and father, Rossetti suffered from bouts of depression. It has been suggested by literary historians that the poet might have been a victim of incestuous relations with her father, which may have triggered her emotional inconsistency. Whether or not an unwanted liaison between daughter and father had ever occurred, the theorist's rumors have never been recorded or proven although much of her poetry hints at its possibility and leaves us questioning the reason as to why she never married. In later years, the poet also suffered from Graves Disease which eventually wore her down along with a reoccurring breast tumor which ultimately caused her death in 1893.

Macabre Painting Inspired By Rossetti's Poem

"Oh, What's That in the Hollow, so Pale I Quake to Follow?" by Pre-Raphaelite Artist Edward Robert Hughes who was inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem "Amor Mundi"
"Oh, What's That in the Hollow, so Pale I Quake to Follow?" by Pre-Raphaelite Artist Edward Robert Hughes who was inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem "Amor Mundi" | Source

© 2017 ECLECTIC PLETHORA

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • ziyena profile imageAUTHOR

    ECLECTIC PLETHORA 

    12 months ago from LOST IN TIME

    I've always had a great love for her brother, the Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I must admit that I too had not known nearly enough about her until coming across further research on Dante ... I think this is one of the many reasons that I enjoy HP ... it's a learning process, always :) Thank You

  • Fullerman5000 profile image

    Ryan Fuller 

    12 months ago from Louisiana, USA

    Interesting and a lot great historical facts. I would have never known who this great poet was. Thank you for sharing this. Very educational and thought provoking.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)