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Title: "One face looks out": the effects of the literary marketplace and the nineteenth-century image of femininity shown in the work of Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Author: Stewart, Mardi Gardner Downs
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 1030
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2004
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The main aim of this thesis is to explore Christina Rossetti?s poetic vocation and persona as a nineteenth-century woman poet in the competitive literary marketplace. It begin by mapping out the socio-historical factors that, I argue, shape the construction and reception of women poets. Gender ideology is central to this issue, which the thesis explores by comparison of Christina Rossetti?s work with the paintings and poetry of her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti. An overview of contemporary critical opinion and reception history in Chapter One demonstrates the construction of the Rossettis? professional image and sense of vocation. The following chapters compare reciprocal works by each poet in a range of literary genres: the early semi-autobiographical prose works ?Maude? and ?Hand and Soul?, the narrative poems ?Goblin Market? and ?Jenny?, and the amatory sonnet sequences Monna Innominata and The House of Life. Fundamental to these comparisons is the image of woman, for femininity is seen to be at the heart of the nineteenth-century aesthetic. The concept of woman as image is unravelled, in Chapters Two, Four and Six, in a discussion of Dante Gabriel Rossetti?s wife, Elizabeth Siddal, who was also a painter and poet. Elizabeth Siddal?s value as an image superseded her value as an artist and indeed a woman. The inter-relation between fallen women and women poets is linked to the problems of women poets as both poetic producers and poetic inspiration. The particular problem of the woman poet is a continuous strand of argument throughout the chapters. Christina Rossetti?s poetry is seen to explore the choices available to nineteenth-century women in a dominant patriarchy. Her resistance to and compliance with these choices is shown as central to her work. The final chapter joins the strands of the argument to focus on woman as icon, commodity and image as it is demonstrated by both brother and sister. Elizabeth Siddal is shown to have lost her identity in favour of her image. Dante Gabriel Rossetti is identified by the image of the women represented in his poetry and painting. These women become the sign of his artistic persona. Christina Rossetti?s tenacity in retaining her identity is located in her religious faith, her poetic gift and her ability to both comply with and resist patriarchal dominance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature