The Letters of Christina Rossetti, 1887-1894

Overview

In recent years Christina Rossetti's star has soared. Rossetti (1830-1894) has come to be considered one of the major poets--not just one of the major women poets--of the Victorian era, eclipsing her famous brother. Leading critics have demonstrated how studies of Rossetti's work, her daily life, her relationships with the Pre-Raphaelites, and her interactions with other women authors of the period can help us understand the unique cultural situation of Victorian women writers. When complete in four volumes, this...

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Overview

In recent years Christina Rossetti's star has soared. Rossetti (1830-1894) has come to be considered one of the major poets--not just one of the major women poets--of the Victorian era, eclipsing her famous brother. Leading critics have demonstrated how studies of Rossetti's work, her daily life, her relationships with the Pre-Raphaelites, and her interactions with other women authors of the period can help us understand the unique cultural situation of Victorian women writers. When complete in four volumes, this project will make available all of Rossetti's extant letters, almost two-thirds of which have never been published.

The third volume of the Letters covers years in which Christina Rossetti lost several important family members, including her mother, her brother Dante, and a young nephew, Michael, and many close friends. Her preoccupation with their illnesses and with memorializing her brother took its toll on her poetic output. In the face of her loss, she turned increasingly to religion and wrote works of devotional prose--Time Flies, Letter and Spirit--not designed to attract much literary attention. Rossetti herself had been diagnosed with Graves' disease in 1872; by 1874 she had recovered but continued to use her earlier health problems to identify herself as a "semi-recluse," which allowed her a degree of freedom she might not have had otherwise. This self-imposed reclusiveness, however, gave rise to a large correspondence, in which her interests and sensibilities were given broad exposure. She devoted more time to favored causes, including antivivisectionism and the protection of minors, and her letters afford the reader an in-depth perspective on these and other public issues and on the personal values underlying her opinions.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

Victorian Studies

With these first two of a projected four volumes, Antony H.
Harrison's The Letters of Christina Rossetti is well on its way to providing another landmark in the reconsideration of Rossetti.... Harrison's unsurpassed knowledge of Rossetti's life and keen appreciation of her art make his notes and commentaries nearly as valuable as Rossetti's own words. The complete collection will be, as these volumes already are, an important resource for readers of Victorian poetry as well as scholars of Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

U. C. Knoepflmacher

At a time when the poetry of Victorian women is being freshly evaluated, this much-needed, magisterial edition of Christina Rossetti's letters sheds new light on the everyday life of a writer all too often stereotyped as a recluse and still seen by some in the shadow of her brothers.... [Harrison's] sensitive grasp of Rossetti's genius and his complete mastery of all facets of her professional and private life are wonderfully reflected in his introductions and annotations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813919294
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Series: Victorian Literature and Culture Series
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Antony H. Harrison is Professor of English at North Carolina State University. He is the author of Victorian Poets and the Politics of Culture: Discourse and Ideology, Victorian Poets and Romantic Poems: Intertextuality and Ideology; Christina Rossetti in Context; and Swinburne's Medievalism: A Study in Victorian Love Poetry.

University of Virginia Press

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Interviews & Essays

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