Christina Rossetti’s Poems: a New Edition and a Revaluation

Jerome J. McGann

in The Beauty of Inflections

Published in print August 1988 | ISBN: 9780198117506
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670961 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Christina Rossetti’s Poems: a New Edition and a Revaluation

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This chapter considers the works of Christina Rossetti. Rossetti presents a peculiarly useful subject through which to explore how certain writers move in or out of critical attention. In addition, her religious poetry offers a testing ground in which to work out a methodology of stylistic periodization. Because Christian poems, especially in the Anglican and Anglo–Catholic tradition, preserve a more or less stable ideology between the 16th and the early 20th centuries, their period-specific characteristics can be more readily isolated and studied. Anyone who has studied Christina Rossetti knows the frusatration of working with the hitherto ‘standard’ collection of her poems edited by her brother William Michael Rossetti. Meanwhile, her poetry takes up an ideological position which is far more radical than the middle-class feminist positions current in her epoch. The principal factor which enabled her to overleap those positions was her severe Christianity.

Keywords: Christina Rossetti; religious poetry; periodization; Christianity; William Michael Rossetti

Chapter.  9372 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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