Christina Rossetti was born on December 5, 1830, in London, England. She was a renowned English poet and writer who is best known for her devotional writings and children’s poems. Two of Rossetti’s most famous works include “Goblin Market” and “Remember.” She also wrote two well-known Christmas carols, “Love Came Down at Christmas” and “In the Bleak Midwinter.” She belonged to an illustrious family of academics, artists, and writers. She died of cancer at the age of 64 in London. On the Church of England calendar, she is commemorated on 27 April.
Christina Georgina Rossetti
December 5, 1830
December 29, 1894 (age 64)
Christina Georgina Rossetti was an English poet whose depth of metaphors, imagery, and mastery of versification and prosody, earned her huge recognition, most of which came posthumously. She was born on December 5, 1830, in London, England, into an Italian family. Her father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a poet and a teacher at King’s College, London. Her mother, Frances Polidori, was the sister of the renowned writer and physician, John William Polidori. Rossetti was the youngest child and had three older siblings. She was prolific in narration; she told her mother her first story before she could even write. Home-schooled by her parents, she was heavily impressed by the works of Petrarch, Dante Alighieri, and many other Italian writers, which influenced her writing style to a good degree.
Rossetti started penning poems in 1842 and began experimenting with hymns, sonnets, ballads, and many other verse styles by 1847. She published her first two poems, “Death’s Chill Between” and “Heart’s Chill Between,” in 1848 in the “Athenaeum” magazine, under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne. In 1856, she published another poem, “In the Artist’s Studio.” When she turned 31 in 1862, her treasured collection of poems, “Goblin Market and Other Poems,” was published. The title poem was praised by critics far and wide. In 1892, she wrote “The Face of the Deep.” Apart from poetry, Rossetti authored several works of fiction, non-fiction, and short stories. She was an exemplary writer and poet by every measure.
Rossetti was a devout Christian and a follower of the liberal and evangelical Church of England. She refused three matrimonial proposals on religious grounds. She never married, and her life revolved around literature, writing, devotional poetry, and children’s poems. Rossetti suffered from Grave’s disease and breast cancer in her later years and passed away from a cancer relapse on December 29, 1894.
Her first two poems, “Death’s Chill Between” and “Heart’s Chill Between,” are published in a magazine.
In her poem, “In the Artist’s Studio,” which refers to the “artistic movement,” she describes seeing various paintings of the same model until every canvas carries the same meaning.
Rossetti publishes her prime collection of poems, “Goblin Market and Other Poems,” at the age of 31.
Rossetti publishes “The Face of the Deep,” a book of devotional prose.
Why We Love Christina Rossetti
She was talented
Rossetti was a talented poet whose work was praised by critics and readers alike. Despite being educated at home, she continued writing and experimenting with various styles.
She volunteered for a cause
Rossetti volunteered at the St Mary Magdalene house of charity in Highgate, which was a refuge for ex-prostitutes, or as they were called, “the fallen women.” She offered help and raised the issues of the women there. She also worked to save underage girls exploited in the flesh trade.
She was kind-hearted
Rossetti opposed slavery in the United States. She also opposed animal cruelty, vivisection, and underage prostitution. She was kind, educated, vocal, and aware of women’s rights.
5 Surprising Facts
Her father was an exile
Rossetti’s father was a political exile from Italy.
Her father had bronchitis
Rossetti’s father was diagnosed with persistent bronchitis and had to quit his job due to the ailment.
Her nervous breakdown
At 14, Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown when the family’s finances plummeted.
She modeled for paintings
Rossetti modeled for paintings by her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
She inspired J. K. Rowling
The title of Rowling's novel "The Cuckoo's Calling," was taken from Rossetti's poem, "A Dirge."
Christina Rossetti FAQs
Was Christina Rossetti queer?
Yes. Some of her poems depict female-to-female erotic affection.
What does ‘Rossetti’ mean?
The word ‘Rossetti’ is the Italian word for ‘red.’
Why did Christina Rossetti have a nervous breakdown?
Rossetti had a nervous breakdown due to her family’s financial woes.
Christina Rossetti’s birthday dates