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Title: The poetry of Christina Rossetti
Author: Hullah, Paul
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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Twentieth century critical work on Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-94) is sparse. Short discussions of her poetry have appeared intermittently in journals such as Victorian Poetry, or as chapters or parts of chapters in books such as Sir Maurice Bowra's The Romantic Imagination (1949) and Professor W.W. Robson's Critical Essays (1966). Only with the recent publication of David A. Kent's edition The Achievement of Christina Rossetti (1987) and Antony H. Harrison's Christina Rossetti in Context (1988), has sustained, critical (as opposed to biographically determined) study of this poet's work been offered. This thesis seeks to isolate thematic elements in the works of Christina Rossetti by offering close, detailed textual readings of the poems. Past commentators have rightly recognised and applauded the rhythmic and metrical craftsmanship displayed in her lyric verse, but this monopoly of attention afforded to the formal felicities of the poetry has been at the expense of adequate interpretation of its content. This study aims to show that Rossetti's rigorously controlled use of language and symbolism indicates that there are important levels of meaning implicit in the poetry other than that produced by the biographical decoding which many critics have hitherto favoured. This thesis proposes that, from her earliest 'secular' lyrics - which, in fact, display a sustained interaction between inherited modes of Romantic and Tractarian thought - through longer pieces such as Goblin Market (1862) and The Prince's Progress (1866), Rossetti's verse continually resists complacency of interpretation, subtly questioning and subverting the traditions of writing - lyric, fairy tale, and quest myth - it simultaneously extends. Gradually and persuasively constructing a case for the inability of poetic tradition to cope with the expression of an active, female identity, Monna Innominata (1881) deconstructs the poetics of lyric tradition, casting together mediaeval, renaissance and Victorian ideologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available