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Christina Georgina Rossetti was born in London, England, in Her poet father, Gabriele Rossetti, had left post-Napoleonic Italy in to seek political asylum in England. In London he became a professor of Italian and Dante scholarship. He met and married Frances Polidori, of part-Italian descent, whose brother was Lord Byron's physician for a time. The couple had four gifted children, the youngest of whom was Christina.


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The Rossetti home was always open to Italian scholars and revolutionaries who influenced the children as they grew into intelligent, artistic personalities. Christina was a lively and creative child. She dictated her first story to her mother before she had learned to write. At age six she astonished a visitor with her use of a "dictionary-word. Soon Christina was exploring the library on her own, preferring stories of fantasy, adventure and imagination.

As she matured, she finally allowed the writing of Dante to become more than an overdone subject of her father's studies, and later admitted to the great influence Dante had on her own work. Emotionally, Christina and her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti were described as the "two storms" of the family; her sister Maria Francesca and brother William Michael were described as the "two calms".

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However, as she grew older, Christina evolved into a quiet, devout woman whose writing demonstrated continued inner passion and complexity. At age 12 she first began writing down and dating her poetry in notebooks. From these her grandfather Polidori privately published her first volume of verses in Then in her brother Dante and his friends formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood , a group of English painters and poets who wanted to bring back the "vitality and freshness of the Italian primitives.

Intellectually and artistically interested in the Brotherhood, Christina, on occasion, acted as a secretary as well as a model for Dante. Christina published several poems in the Brotherhood's magazine, The Germ. The view of Ford Madox Ford who was the son of Lucy Rossetti's sister Cathy that she was 'a modern writer' is the one which stands. In an article to mark the centenary of her birth, Basil de Selincourt placed her as 'all but our greatest woman poet … incomparably our greatest craftswoman … probably in the first twelve of the masters of English verse' TLS , 4 Dec The growth of her reputation is well illustrated by her increased representation in anthologies of Victorian poetry published throughout the twentieth century.

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  1. Biography: Christina Rossetti | English Literature: Victorians and Moderns?
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  7. Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within Also in this article Rossetti, Christina Georgina. Show Summary Details Article Images. Rossetti, Christina Georgina — Childhood and illnesses Christina Rossetti's childhood—to judge from her brother William's reminiscences and from the blithe tone of her children's verse—was happy. The Pre-Raphaelites In her late teens Christina Rossetti became involved in a group of her brothers' painting friends—among them Ford Madox Brown , William Holman Hunt , and John Everett Millais —and she was, emotionally at least, involved in the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood , whose dissolution in she marked with some sprightly comic verses.

    In one much quoted account, in a letter to William in , she is characteristically sliding out of the picture: Think of my dismay; today I met Mr Hunt on the stairs; and actually not knowing him, ran past without exchanging greetings.

    Letters of Christina Rosetti , 1. Suitors rejected Collinson was the first of Christina Rossetti's three suitors. I never said I loved you John : Why will you teaze me day by day. Further ill health Christina Rossetti's appearance at this time—pale, narrow-jawed, with large-lidded eyes and long, uncurled hair—might be seen as a prototype for the introspective, melancholy Pre-Raphaelite female, a look which later went through many exaggerations in her brother Gabriel's paintings.

    Friends and death Christina Rossetti was not in the habit of drawing pen portraits or vivid vignettes. Reputation Although her literary status was never as high as Elizabeth Barrett Browning's during her life, Christina Rossetti's posthumous reputation has remained strong and is increasing; she stands far above her popular, prolific contemporaries Dora Greenwell , Adelaide Proctor , and Jean Ingelow.

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    Christina Rossetti is more personal; she often employs a confrontational address, opening on a colloquial note: I tell my secret? No indeed, not I: Perhaps some day, who knows? When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me;. Shall I forget on this side of the grave? I promise nothing: you must wait and see. Tore her gown and soiled her stocking, Twitched her hair out by the roots.

    Stamped upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeezed their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat. Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices Squeezed from goblin fruits for you, Goblin pulp and goblin dew. Eat me, drink me, love me; Laura make much of me. Sources M. Bell, Christina Rossetti Rossetti Battiscombe, Christina Rossetti : a divided life Marsh, Christina Rossetti : a literary biography