Much of Christina Rossetti’s poetry has a very depressing and rather

Much of Christina Rossetti’s poetry has a very depressing and rather

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Much of Christina Rossetti’s poetry has a very depressing and rather
sombre tone, which can be sometimes used to infer the way in which she
viewed life and times, which she was living in. However, despite this
sombre theme throughout her poetry it can ...

Much of Christina Rossetti’s poetry has a very depressing and rather
sombre tone, which can be sometimes used to infer the way in which she
viewed life and times, which she was living in. However, despite this
sombre theme throughout her poetry it can be argued that it was not
only her life that influenced her poetry but also the time in which
shewas living. Many historians have suggested that the era in which
Rossetti lived was a rather ‘bad’ time, the second half of the
nineteenth century was a rather strange period and the Pre-Raphaelite
Movement made quite an artistic group.

The Pre-Raphaelites, being young, talented, and having many ideas of
their own, felt stifled by the rigidity of the Royal Academy's idea of
what tasteful, beautiful art should be. The PRB held the haughty
belief that the only true great art came from before the 16th century
Italian painter, Raphael (hence the society's name). Raphael
represented high renaissance, a time when painters, instead of letting
their subjects dictate their qualities to the artist, would manipulate
the subject into their own ideal of beauty. Thus, all realism was
lost. The PRB, with full spirit, denounced this art of idealization,
and led the way to produce works based on real landscapes and real
models, and paid intense attention to accuracy of detail and color
William Holman Hunt, D.G. Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William
Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Thomas Woolner and F.G. Stephens
founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) in 1849. In some ways it
was an impulsive venture, the PRB aimed to produce works that were
innovative in style and substance, and expressive of direct, sincere
feeling. And behind this lay the persistent ambition to be noticed
and ‘make a name’. As well as painting, they were also committed to
the literary arts, and nearly all the PRBs wrote poetry. These
painters had a specific agenda. Instead of painting the typical
still-lifes, landscapes and seascapes, they drew their subject matters
from medieval tales, bible stories, classical mythology, and nature.
Using bright colors on a white background, the artists were able to
achieve great depth and brilliance.Although some of Christina
Rossetti’s earliest versese were published in The Germ, a magazine
produced for a short time by the Pre-Raphaelites, and she sat as a
model for several of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s paintings, she was not

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actually a member of the movement. By modern standards, their poetry
seemed rich and cloying and her’s was considered to be more sensitive.

Much of Rossetti’s poetry was inspired by her religion. Many poems,
such as When I am Dead, After Death and Weary and Well-Doing are
concerned with the nearness of death and the abandonment of earthly
love. Her love of God is passionately expressed in her poem In the
Bleak Mid-Winter that is also a well-known Christmas carol. However,
she is also a poet who demonstrates in her work a love of nature.
Another Spring and Spring show an exactness of observation, which her
fellow PRB’s would have undoubtedly appreciated.

Although she is thought of as a somewhat melancholy poet, and indeed
much of her writing can be sad, or even morbid by today’s standards,
she can also express the lighter side of life. Her poem A Birthday is
a rapturous expression of delight in love. She also shows a malicious
appreciation of sisterly jealousies in her poem Two Noble Sisters.
Many people consider that her best work is Goblin Market (1862), the
longest of her poems. Because goblins sound as if they belong in a
fairy story, it is often put in collections for young children.
However, it is really a short epic poem for adults. The most obvious
quality of the writing is the exactness and sensuousness of her
descriptions of the fruit sold by the goblins. The nearest comparison
in English poetry to this must be the description of the feast in
Keats’ The Eve of St Agnes. The most striking thing about the subject
matter is its eeriness. Two sisters, Lizzie and Laura, see goblin
merchants going to market with mouth-wateringly tempting fruit to
sell. Lizzie resists because she remembers the fate of Jeanie, another
girl who bought fruit from the goblins, but Laura buys the fruit with
one of her golden curls. When it is gone she pines for more, but can
no longer hear the call of the goblins. She sickens and nearly dies,
but her sister braves the temptations of the fruit to bring back
juices which the goblins have squeezed onto her clothes in their
efforts to force her to eat. By offering herself in this way, she
redeems her sister. Many modern readers may make a connection with the
temptations and effects of narcotic drugs and also to sexual
temptation.
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