Christina Rossetti

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Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) was an English poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is best known for her long poem Goblin Market, her love poem Remember, and for the words of the Christmas carol In the Bleak Midwinter.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Rossetti was born in London and educated at home by her mother. She had two brothers and a sister - Dante Gabriel Rossetti would become an influential artist and poet, William Michael Rossetti, and Maria Francesca Rossetti would both become successful writers. Their father, Gabriele Rossetti, was an Italian poet and a refugee from Naples; their mother, Frances Polidori, was the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori, author of The Vampyre.

In the 1840s, her family faced severe financial difficulties due to the deterioration of her father's physical and mental health. When she was 14, Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown and left school. Bouts of depression and related illness followed. During this period she, her mother, and her sister became deeply interested in the Anglo-Catholic movement that developed in the Church of England. Religious devotion came to play a major role in Rossetti's life. In her late teens, Rossetti became engaged to the painter James Collinson, who was, like her brothers Dante and William, one of the founding members of the avant-garde artistic group, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The engagement was broken when he reverted to Catholicism. Later she became involved with the linguist Charles Cayley, but declined to marry him, also for religious reasons. Rossetti sat for several of Dante Rossetti's most famous paintings. In 1848, she was the model for the Virgin Mary in his first completed oil painting, The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, which was the first work to be inscribed with the initials 'PRB', later revealed to signify the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.[1] The following year she modelled again for his depiction of the Annunciation, Ecce Ancilla Domini.

Career

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