Christina Georgina Rossetti knowns as Christina Rossetti in the literary world was born on the 5th of December in 1830, in London England. She was a brilliant daughter of Gabriele Rossetti, a poet while her mother, Frances Polidori was a simple lady. She was the youngest child of her parents. Her brother, Dante was also a poet and an influential painter. Her sister, Maria and her brother, William Michael were also great writers. Christina spent her early years with her parents.
Though Christina Rossetti is a renowned poet, it is surprising she never had any formal education. Her parents preferred to home-school her. They taught her classical works of legendary figures, religious works, famous novels, and fairy tales. During Christina’s early years, masterpieces of Matthew Lewis, an English novelist and dramatist, Ann Radcliffe, a gothic writer, Sir Walter Scott, and John Keats impacted her the most. Since she belonged to a literate and artist family, her house was the center of attraction for several literary figures, scholars, revolutionaries, and artists. Their frequent visits and scholarly experiences had left a deep impact on her writings. However, the financial crisis of her family in the 1840s and her father’s deteriorating mental and physical health played a pivotal role in shaping her literary influence. Christina started writing poetry in 1842. Interestingly, most of her poems are the imitations of her favorite poets.
Christina had a protective childhood, full of the joys of spring. However, her father’s worsening health put an end to her happiness. Her mother and siblings started odd jobs to make both ends meet, which led to her loneliness at home. Christina could not cope up with increasing isolation. Hence, she also suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of fourteen followed by several bouts of depression. However, religious devotion helped her to come out of that traumatic phase in her life. In her later teens, she was engaged with James Collinson, a famous painter. Unfortunately, they could not get along and ended their engagement in 1850. Later, she was interested in Charles Cayley, a linguist, but also refused to tie a knot for religious reasons. John Barret, a painter, also proposed her but was promptly denied. While proceeding to carry on her strict religious practices, she led a lonely life and experienced serious sickness bouts.
Christina remained grief-stricken in her life. However, her problems could not destroy her poetic skills. She kept on producing masterpieces until she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 1872, followed by a cardiac arrest in 1893 and in 1893, she developed breast cancer. Despite facing all these tragedies, she never gave up. She breathed her last on the 29th of December in 1894 in Bloomsbury. Christina was buried in High gate Cemetery, England.
Some Important Facts of Her Life
- Christina Rossetti is best known for her poem “Goblin Market” which was published in 1862.
- She was not only a romantic and devotional poet, but also a great children writer.
- She did not attend any formal education, yet she secured a respectable place in the world of literature.
Christina gained enough knowledge of literature because she had the influence within her family and also met with many literary figures. However, her educational background was not so illustrious. She formally started documenting and dating her literary pieces from 1842. Most of her them reflected the styles of her favorite dramatist, playwrights, and writers. Later in 1847, she tried her hands on verse forms such as ballads, hymns, and sonnets using narratives from the lives of saints in the Bible and folk tales. Christina’s first two poems appeared in 1848 in the Athenaeum, which was marked with the themes of death, loss, and life. In fact, it was her contribution to the literary magazine, The Germ, which brought her public fame. In 1862, her most famous collection, “Goblin Market and Other Poems” won widespread appreciation. From 1859 to 1870 she worked as a volunteer at the St Mary Magdalene House of Charity in Highgate, London. Her entire career seemed to present her contribution to literature.
Despite having a disturbed life, Christina’s thoughtful ideas contributed much to the world of literature. Her works were published and acknowledged even during her lifetime. She preferred using plenty of imagery, metaphors, symbolism and sound devices. Her poetry was largely applauded by her contemporaries and other poets and writers. Since she is considered the most important figure of the Victorian era, her pieces successfully reflect the stylistic elements of the Romantic Era. Also, she opposed the cruelty toward animals, exploitation of underage girls in prostitution and slavery in her writings. The recurring themes in most of her pieces are tragic love, gender and sexuality, death, divine love, renunciation of desire, and religious doubts.
Christina Rossetti’s works
- Best Poems: She was an outstanding poet, some of her best poems include: “Goblin Market”, “Remember”, “Twilight Night”, “A “Chilly Night”, “The Rose with Such a Bonny Blush”, “In an Artist’s Studio”, “In a Bleak Midwinter”, “Shut Out”, “Good Friday” and “Twice.”
- Other Works: Besides poetry, she tried her hands on fiction and non-fiction pieces. Some of them include: “Dante, an English Classic”, “Dante: The Poet Illustrated out of the Poem”, “Time Flies: A Reading Diary” and “Speaking Likenesses.”
Christina Rossetti’s Impacts on Future Literature
Christina Rossetti is a well-known Victorian writer and poet who became popular during her lifetime. She was very popular during her lifetime, but it faded at the start of the 20th century. Her work came into the light in the late 19th century when the academics showed interest to examine her works beyond the parameters of romantic poetry. This reevaluation of her works won a lot of admiration after which she was declared the leader of the 19th-century poets. Her literary qualities and indifferent style helped shape the opinion of the others on how females were exploited in a filthy profession of prostitution. She successfully presented her ideas in her writings that even today writers and poets try to imitate her unique style, considering her a guide for writing fiction and poetry.
Christina Rossetti’s Famous Quotes
- “For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;” (De Profundis)
- “Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.” (In the Bleak Midwinter)
- “Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.” (Remember)
- “O herald skylark, stay they flight
One moment, for a nightingale
Floods us with sorrow and delight.” (Bird Raptures)