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Christina Rossetti entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
Excerpts
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Christina Rossetti wrote and published poetry ranging from religious poetry, love lyrics, and sonnets to narrative and dramatic verse. She published five successive volumes of verse, three collected editions, and many individual poems in anthologies and periodicals, from the 1840s until her death in the 1890s. She occupies a liminal position in relation to the Pre-Raphaelite movement: deeply influenced by and indebted to it, she developed a voice and preoccupations in many respects distinct from those of its male members, partly because of her equally strong absorption in the High Anglican Oxford Movement. Goblin Market, the poem for which she is best known, has frequently been re-issued as a children's fable, but has also been convincingly read as a complex exploration of religion, gender, and sexuality. Some of her other verse was specifically aimed at children. Her attempts at prose fiction, of which a volume appeared in her lifetime and another posthumously, were not as well received as her poetry. Christina Rossetti's devotional writing, which intensified towards the end of her life, includes hymns and other religious verse, as well as six volumes of religious commentary presented from a distinctively female standpoint. A writer who combined abiding interest in symbol and correspondence with stylistic austerity and metrical innovation that presaged modernism, Christina Rossetti is recognised as one of the major poets of the Victorian period.
Milestones
5 December 1830 CR was born in a small terrace house at 38 Charlotte Street, near Portland Place, London; she was the fourth and youngest child of the family. Bibliographic Citation link.
27 April 1842 Having begun composing poetry at six, CR was eleven when she wrote her earliest preserved poem, for her mother's birthday. Bibliographic Citation link.
27 April 1859 CR completed her most celebrated poem, Goblin Market; in manuscript it was dedicated to her sister, referring to her by her initials. Bibliographic Citation link.
Early April 1862 CR published the collection Goblin Market and Other Poems with illustrations by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Bibliographic Citation link.
January 1872 CR published in Scribner's Monthly "A Christmas Carol", better known by its first line "In the Bleak Midwinter", which has become her most widely encountered work, since it is still sung by thousands in the Christmas season. Bibliographic Citation link.
29 December 1894 CR died, exhausted from the pain of advanced cancer and from the terror of opiate-induced hallucinations. Bibliographic Citation link.
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