Christina Georgina Rossetti was born in London on December 5, 1830. She was one of four children. She had two brothers, William and Dante, and one sister, Maria. All four children became writers, and her brother Dante was also a famous painter. Christina was the youngest of the four children. Her father, Gabriele Rossetti was a poet, and her mother, Frances Polidori Rossetti was deeply religious. It has been said that Christina, “Inherited many of her artistic tendencies from her father,” (Glenn Everett. “The Life of Christina Rossetti”. The Victorian Web. 1988. 25 Feb. 2012. ) and that her, “Religious temperament was closer to her mother’s.” (Everett, “The Life of Christina Rossetti)
Christina Rossetti, her mother, and her sister were all pious members of the Church of England. In her later years, Maria became an Anglican nun. Christina’s religious convictions are apparent in some of her more religious poetic writings such as “Paradise” and “Trust Me”. In her lifetime, she also worked for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. It has been said that she covered the secular parts of Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon in order to enjoy it more. (Everett, “The Life of Christina Rossetti”)
Christina never married, despite the fact that she was engaged to James Collinson and courted by Charles Cayley. She broke off the engagement with Collinson because he reverted to Roman Catholicism. She also ended her courtship with Cayley because she discovered that he was not a Christian. Her failed attempts at love would later prove to be a prominent theme in her works.
The latter years of Christina Rossetti’s life were characterized by “slackening lyrical power” in her works. (“Christina Rossetti”. NNDB. 2012. 25 Feb 2012. http://www.nndb.com/>) She spent her last years in retirement. She was greatly grieved by her brother’s, Dante’s, death. She spent the next twelve years quietly struggling with her health. In 1892, her health took a turn for the worse. In December 29, 1894, she died of cancer.
Christina was involved mainly in two organizations in the course of her career as a poet. The first organization was the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which her brothers were members. The second organization was the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, or S.P.C.K., published some of Christina’s religious poems.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1849 by William Holman Hunt. It was named after the art of the early Renaissance. (Jan Marsh. “Christina Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”. Penguin Classics. 2011. 27 Feb 2012. ) The Brotherhood was a group of artists and writers who wanted to challenge the norm and reform conventional art techniques. They started a magazine called The Germ to publish their works.
Christina was first introduced to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood by...