Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Portrait

Biographical note

Poet, sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was born in London, where she lived all her life. She began to write poetry in early girlhood, some of her earliest verse appearing in 1850 in the Germ, the magazine of the pre-Raphaelites, of which her brother was one of the founders. Her subsequent publications were Goblin Market and other Poems (1862), The Prince’s Progress (1866), A Pageant and other Poems (1881), and Verses (1893). New Poems (1896) appeared after her death. Sing–Song was a book of verses for children.

Her life was a very retired one, passed largely in attending on her mother, who lived until 1886, and in religious duties. She twice rejected proposals of marriage. Her poetry is characterised by imaginative power, exquisite expression, and simplicity and depth of thought. She rarely imitated any forerunner, and drew her inspiration from her own experiences of thought and feeling. Many of her poems are definitely religious in form; more are deeply imbued with religious feeling and motive. In addition to her poems she wrote Commonplace and other Stories, and The Face of the Deep, a striking and suggestive commentary on the Apocalypse.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

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