Christina Rossetti, selected poems Contents
- A Better Resurrection
- A Birthday
- A Royal Princess
- At Home
- Cousin Kate
- Despised and Rejected
- Goblin Market
- Good Friday
- Jessie Cameron
- Maude Clare
- Shut Out
- Song (When I am dead, my dearest)
- Summer is Ended
- The Convent Threshold
- The Lowest Place
- To Lalla, reading my verses topsy-turvy
- Winter: My Secret
Publication and early responses
Male perceptions of women's poetry
The early male reviewers and critics who received Rossetti's volumes set up a distinction between their expectations regarding the writings of men and the writings of women. For instance, in the Saturday Review, published in June 1866, a reviewer spoke of the poems contained in Rossetti's second volume, The Prince's Progress and Other Poems in the following terms:
By dismissing any trace of deep thinking, by speaking of Rossetti's poems as ‘melodious', ‘sweet' and ‘quaint' and by calling her subjects ‘fancies', the critic confines her writings to his expectations of what is fitting for female verse.
Rossetti's own brother, William Michael, adhered to the standard Victorian pattern of writing about female verse in terms of feminine spontaneity and sweetness. Introducing his 1896 edited edition of her poetry, he writes
By suggesting that Rossetti's process of poetic composition came solely from inspiration and that the ideas for her poetry simply and spontaneously ‘came into her head', William Michael discredits the idea that Rossetti is a serious poet to be considered in the same framework as her male contemporaries.
Not every early reviewer was, however, so ready to confine Rossetti's poetry to the ideas of spontaneous feminine overflow. Rossetti had a huge assortment of admirers including the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne who called Rossetti ‘the Jael who led their hosts to victory', comparing her to the powerful female leader in the Old Testament Book of Judges. Rossetti also had many admirers in America and during the later part of her career, corresponded with several younger American poets.
An episodic account of the completion of the conquest when individual tribes suffering incursions from hostile neighbours (e.g. Philistines). The Judges were 'liberators' whom God raised up to defeat these enemies. Chief among these were Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson. The reason for the failure of the Israelites was that '(they) did what was evil in the sight of the Lord'.
Big ideas: Women in the Bible
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