Date of Award

Fall 2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Krueger, Christine L.

Second Advisor

Block, Ed.

Third Advisor

Jeffers, Thomas L.


The life of Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) was as outwardly circumscribed as inwardly adventurous. The youngest of four children born to Gabriele and Francesca Polidori Rossetti, Christina was always one of an exceptionally close family, and continued in its stability as long as she lived. Her basic place of residence was her family's home; although the addresses changed, her closeness to her family of origin did not. One trip to Europe in1864 was the only occasion on which she left England, and although two of her poems mention her love for Italy and her sadness on leaving it, she never went back. The wide circle of friends that centered itself in the Rossetti home, however, meant that a considerable part of the world, and most notably groups of creative artists and intellectuals, came to her and to her siblings. Both Gabriele and Francesca valued the life of the mind, and what they valued was translated into their children's lives in a variety of ways. Maria Rossetti, Christina's only sister, and Christina wrote scholarly works on Dante, whose work also formed the focus of their father's researches. Dante Gabriel and Christina successfully published poetry highly admired by their contemporaries, and their correspondence shows that as long as his interest in art persisted, they shared a collegial interest in the craft of Christina's authorship. Dante Gabriel's career as a visual artist meant that like-minded artists gathered with him and William Michael Rossetti, who began his critical career then, in the Rossetti home as well. From 1848 to late 1853, their Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood became the source of artistic principles that would inform Christina's writing in many ways until the end of her career. As discussed in Chapter Three, Christina's work is formed by the same PreRaphaelite principles that she critiques and extends, and an understanding of how her connection with the movement is defined and developed is crucial to understanding the poems she published in the late 1850s and early 1860s that gave voices to the dispossessed and the powerless. Chapter Three, as it shows Rossetti in one of the cultural and historical contexts which informed her work, thus uses cultural criticism to explain how her original work should be viewed. In particular, close readings of a section of "Goblin Market" and a long and lesser-known poem, "A Royal Princess," will show how Pre-Raphaelite and Anglo-Catholic motifs intertwine to create poetry that is at once balanced and impassioned in its tone....



Restricted Access Item

Having trouble?