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Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)

Author of Goblin Market

124+ Works 4,472 Members 56 Reviews 31 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Portrait of Christina Rossetti, by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Public domain ; Wikipedia)

Works by Christina Rossetti

Goblin Market (1862) 723 copies
The Complete Poems (1979) 514 copies
Rossetti: Poems (1993) 247 copies
Poems and Prose (1994) 180 copies
Sing-Song (1872) 169 copies
Poems (Everyman Poetry) (1996) 80 copies
Christina's Carol (2021) 57 copies
What Can I Give Him? (1985) — Author — 50 copies
Wombat (2018) 49 copies
Commonplace (1870) 46 copies
Color: A Poem (1992) 45 copies
What Is Pink? (1963) 33 copies
Blooming Beneath the Sun (2019) 32 copies
Verses (1895) 15 copies
Maude (1976) 13 copies
Love Poems (1994) 8 copies
Doves and Pomegranates (1969) 8 copies
Speaking likenesses (2006) 7 copies
Florilegio (1997) 5 copies
The Skylark (First Poems) (1991) 5 copies
Nostalgia del cielo (2001) 3 copies
Who Has Seen the Wind? (2000) 3 copies
Adding: a poem (1964) 3 copies
Poems (1876) 2 copies
Il cielo è lontano (1995) 2 copies
Mix a Pancake (2001) 2 copies
Liefdessonnetten (2004) 2 copies
Adding: A Poem 2 copies
Story Clouds 1 copy
Donne d'amore (2011) 1 copy
Hurt No Living Thing (1987) 1 copy
Healing Poetry (2013) 1 copy
Christmas Short Works Collection 2014 — Contributor — 1 copy
Sing Song 1 copy
Sonnets 1 copy
The Poetry 1 copy

Associated Works

Eric Carle's Animals Animals (1989) — Contributor — 2,134 copies
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,225 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 901 copies
Favorite Poems of Childhood (1992) — Contributor — 790 copies
The Nation's Favourite Poems (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 617 copies
English Poetry, Volume III: From Tennyson to Whitman (1909) — Contributor — 587 copies
The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis (2001) — Contributor — 537 copies
The Victorian Fairytale Book (1988) — Contributor — 451 copies
The Penguin Book of Women Poets (1978) — Contributor — 295 copies
In the Nursery (My Book House) (1932) — Contributor — 279 copies
The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury (1989) — Contributor — 262 copies
The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse (1983) — Contributor — 231 copies
Erotica: Women's Writing from Sappho to Margaret Atwood (1990) — Contributor — 168 copies
The Big Book of Classic Fantasy (2019) — Contributor — 154 copies
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 135 copies
A Literary Christmas: An Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 124 copies
Poems of Early Childhood (Childcraft) (1923) — Contributor — 113 copies
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (1932) — Contributor — 110 copies
Poems Between Women (1997) — Contributor — 89 copies
Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry (2020) — Contributor — 83 copies
Beastly Verse (2014) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children (1994) — Contributor — 71 copies
The Mammoth Book of Fairy Tales (1997) — Contributor — 62 copies
The Virago Book of Christmas (2002) — Contributor — 52 copies
Victorian Love Stories: An Oxford Anthology (1996) — Contributor — 48 copies
The Virago Book of Such Devoted Sisters (1993) — Contributor — 43 copies
Images of Beauty (1804) — Contributor — 42 copies
A Golden Land (1958) — Contributor — 41 copies
366 Goodnight Stories (1963) — Contributor — 33 copies
Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the Macabre (1947) — Contributor — 25 copies
Easter Buds Are Springing: Poems for Easter (1979) — Contributor — 25 copies
A Christmas Cornucopia (2010) — Composer — 22 copies
Nineteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology (1996) — Contributor — 21 copies
Women on Nature (2021) — Contributor — 20 copies
Masters of British Literature, Volume B (2007) — Contributor — 16 copies
Classic Hymns & Carols (2012) — Contributor — 14 copies
In the bleak midwinter (2010) — Author — 11 copies
Christmas classics: A treasury for Latter-Day Saints (1995) — Contributor — 11 copies
The Religion of Beauty: Selections from the Aesthetes (1950) — Contributor — 11 copies
The Germ: Literary Magazine of the Pre-Raphaelites (1850) — Contributor — 10 copies
Men and Women: The Poetry of Love (1970) — Contributor — 7 copies
Poetry anthology (2000) — Contributor, some editions — 6 copies
Teen-Age Treasury for Girls (1958) — Contributor — 5 copies
Evergreen Stories (1998) — Contributor — 5 copies
Winter in the Air (2018) — Composer — 4 copies
La poesía inglesa románticos y victorianos — Contributor — 4 copies
The Lost Birds: An Extinction Elegy (2022) — Composer — 3 copies
In The Bleak Midwinter — Author — 2 copies
In the Bleak Midwinter — Composer — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Rossetti, Christina
Legal name
Rossetti, Christina Georgina
Other names
Alleyne, Ellen
Date of death
Burial location
Highgate Cemetery, London, England, UK
Country (for map)
England, UK
London, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Places of residence
London, England, UK
private tutors
artist's model
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (brother)
Rossetti, William Michael (brother)
Rossetti, Maria Francesca (sister)
Rossetti, Gabriele (father)
Polidori, John William (uncle)
Angeli, Helen Rossetti (niece) (show all 7)
Polidori, Gaetano (maternal grandfather)
Oxford Movement
Short biography
Christina Rossetti's popularity grew after her death and she is now considered one of the leading English Victorian poets. She was born in London, one of four children of aristocratic Italian parents who had emigrated to the UK after her father Gabriele Rossetti was forced into political exile. At age 12, she wrote her first poems, which were printed in the private press of her grandfather. In 1850, under the pseudonym "Ellen Alleyne," she contributed seven poems to the Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ, founded by her brother William Michael Rossetti and his friends. By the 1880s, Christina had become an invalid from recurring bouts of thyroid disease, which ended her attempts to work as a governess. However, she continued to write. In 1891, Christina apparently developed cancer, and died three years later. Her work influenced that of other writers such as Virginia Woolf, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Philip Larkin. Although not a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Christina was engaged for a time to the painter James Collinson, who was a founder of that group with her brothers Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Michael, and she sat as a model for several of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's most famous paintings.




This is a collection of poems about love, lust, sex, betrayal, and death. So, who decided this was for kids?
eurydactyl | Jul 20, 2023 |
Christina was the youngest of the glamorous and talented Rossetti siblings, three-quarter-Italian and brought up in England in the intellectual afterglow of the Byron circle. Apart from being one of the most distinguished women poets of her time (her only real competitor on this side of the Atlantic being Elizabeth Barrett Browning), she's also remembered as the model for many of her big brother's paintings, especially as the Virgin Mary. And, like her brother and the other Pre-Raphaelites, she was heavily involved with the Oxford Movement, a religious revival that aimed to restore some lost medieval piety and glamour to Anglicanism, but ended up sending some of its most prominent followers into the arms of Rome. Partly for religious reasons, Christina never married, although she had at least three offers.

Goblin Market and other poems was Christina's first properly-published collection. The title-poem — her best-known piece after "In the bleak midwinter" — is an odd kind of fairy-tale ballad about two sisters who get involved with a bunch of dodgy supernatural fruit-and-veg salesmen, naive on the surface, but full of all kinds of troubling sexual and religious undercurrents when you start to look at it closely — perfect exam-syllabus material, especially since it's written with so much verve and assurance that it's always great fun to re-read. And the girls come out on top in the end, which helps!

The rest of the collection is a bit mixed, but there's a lot of good stuff there. Short lyric poems where the poet imagines herself abandoned by her lover, rejecting a suitor, widowed, marrying in the presence of a former lover's ghost, lamenting the transience of life and the seasons, etc. Possibly there is a little more focus on death than we might be entirely comfortable with as modern readers: there is a remarkable number of poems in which the speaker of the poem turns out to be talking to us from beyond the grave. Not surprising to learn that Christina had some struggles with depression during her life. But some of these poems are among the strongest in the collection, like the sonnets "After Death" and "Dead before death". Or "Sweet Death" in the religious section at the end. And just occasionally there's a wry touch of humour, as in "No, thank you, John", a woman's exasperated complaint to a tedious suitor straight out of a three-volume novel, who thinks he just has to go on proposing to her for her to realise that she loves him.

Another notable long poem is "The convent threshold", which seems to be a kind of pendant to her brother's "Blessed Damozel" — the speaker of the poem is a woman who has been involved in a relationship that has gone wrong in some unspecified but spectacular way involving lots of blood. She has repented and is entering a convent, but on the doorstep she pauses to urge her lover to do the same, so that they can be reunited in Paradise later.
You sinned with me a pleasant sin:
Repent with me, for I repent.
Woe's me the lore I must unlearn!
Woe's me that easy way we went,
So rugged when I would return!

It's fun to re-read these poems after a gap without much exposure to Victorian poetry: sometimes what Rossetti has to say about religious and female experience might seem a little trite and obvious in hindsight, but that probably wasn't the case at the time, and it's clear that she meant every word of it. What remains striking above all is the confidence and strength with which she fits her deceptively simple language into a precision-aligned poetic structure.
… (more)
thorold | 9 other reviews | Nov 19, 2022 |
I can’t believe I read 300 pages of poetry and actually enjoyed most of it. Because I don’t like poetry. At all.
dkhiggin | 1 other review | Aug 31, 2022 |
This time I actually read the whole book. Before I gave this a star rating without actually reading the whole thing. Still, this is five stars. I really love Christina Rossetti's poems. Whether they are religious, spiritual, fairy tale, or moving, Rossetti is a great poet I believe. She's no Dante, Shakespeare, or Milton, meaning, she isn't complex, but she is still one of my favorite poets. I see I could have gotten her complete poems awhile back, but I think a section is just as good. This has her famous poem "Goblin Market" and among others that are just as good I think. I should note some of her poems are appropriate for children and others are better to read to older children, or, you can read them as an adult.… (more)
Ghost_Boy | 6 other reviews | Aug 25, 2022 |



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