Essay Example on Rossetti was born in London in 1830








Rossetti was born in London in 1830 into a remarkable family of artists scholars and writers Her father was an exiled Italian revolutionary and poet and her brothers William and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were founding members of art movement the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood Christina had her own first book of poetry privately printed by her grandfather when she was 12 years old At the age of 19 she contributed poems to Pre Raphaelite journal The Germ under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyn Rossetti then died in 1894 The women in her family were committed High Church Anglicans and as a teenager Christina suffered a nervous breakdown that was diagnosed at the time as religious mania Rossetti fell in love with several suitors but rejected them all because they failed to share her precise religious convictions Rossetti rejecting several men is portrayed in her poem No Thank You John in 1859 and after reading it one would find it impossible to forget the message of tactful rejection In this poem the speaker rejects the offering of love from the persistent John Her work speaks to the idea of unrequited love The speaker contends that she never told John that she loved him and that he knew she never loved him As the poem progresses Rossetti s speaker moves from a simple refusal by incorporating a beautiful verse with tactfully rude remarks In 1862 at the age of 32 she published her first full collection Goblin Market and Other Poems

A sensuous fairy story Goblin Market is a heady tale of repressed sexuality and sisterhood There are two popular interpretations of Goblin Market one reading is religious and the other focuses on gender and sexuality If the reader is more familiar with the religion the reader will see the Christian allegory However if the reader is well versed in the study of gender and sexuality then the symbolism will more readily relate to that topic In the Christian interpretation Laura represents Eve the goblin men are the equivalent of Satan their fruit is the temptation to sin and Lizzie is the Christ figure Laura sins by going against the interdiction that she must not eat the goblins fruit which is homage to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the Book of Genesis The long list of the goblins fruit represents the wide variety of temptations that humans face during their lifetimes Like Adam and Eve Laura discovers that the fruit does not bring fulfilment but rather death and destruction The second interpretation of Goblin Market is based on symbols of repressed sexual desire and sexual violence Lizzie and Laura are both innocent and virginal at the beginning of the poem but Laura s curiosity proves to be stronger than her sister s warning Rossetti creates an uncomfortable struggle between the consequences of pursuing lust and the need to explore natural human desires Language like sucked and heaved Laura loses her youth and bloom her virginity essentially as a result of taking the goblin men s tempting fruit In Victorian society a woman s deflowering marks her transition into adulthood as a wife and mother However because Laura is not married the encounter strips her of her maiden status prematurely Laura did not heed her sister s warning and now just like Jeanie she will suffer Her concern with female fellowship was played out in real life as

Rossetti devoted ten years as a volunteer at St Mary Magdalene's penitentiary for prostitutes and unmarried mothers in Highgate Critical interest in Rossetti s poetry swelled in the final decades of the twentieth century a resurgence largely impelled by the emergence of feminist criticism much of this commentary focuses on gender issues in her poetry and on Rossetti as a woman poet In Maude Clare Rossetti uses the more spontaneous ABCB rhyme scheme to provide some relief from the strict regularity of the meter As a result the meter is awkward at times paralleling the uncomfortable situation in which the characters are torn between expressing their true emotions and maintaining proper social behavior Maude Clare s aggressive tirade against Thomas and Nell begins with an attention grabbing lo and does not soften with her presentation of wedding gifts She embodies the Victorian archetype of a scorned woman whose wrath cannot be assuaged Maude Clare is almost monstrous in her anger like a savage Juno but yet she is a victim of society s conventions This also reflects on how in temperament Rossetti was most like her brother Dante Gabriel Christina was given to tantrums and fractious behaviour and she fought hard to subdue this passionate temper

 There is a constant battle between restraint and free expression it s a recurring theme throughout Rossetti s poems as women were supressed In Rossetti s lifetime opinion was divided over whether she or Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the greatest female poet of the era in any case after Browning s death in 1861 readers and critics saw Rossetti as the older poet s rightful successor Rossetti seems to focus more on spiritual topics than in poetic approach Rossetti s poetry being one of intense feelings her technique refined within the forms established in her time Many people have acknowledged Rossetti as having the greater lyric gift with her poetry displaying a perfection of diction tone and form under the guise of utter simplicity Rossetti s childhood was exceptionally happy characterized by affectionate parental care and the creative companionship of older siblings Rossetti expresses each factor of her life into each one of her poems

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