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Religious faith and doubt, passionate claims for love and against it, and an emotional tint of darkness and death--these are the strains of Christina Rossetti's prolific poetry, and these are the strains of her life. Raised in an extremely creative family, she sat within the intellectual enclave of the most earnest Victorian endeavors--the Pre-Raphaelites (brother Gabriel) and the literary society of Ruskin and Ford Maddox Ford. She sat, however, both within and without, as her poems expressed the inner turbulence of spirit in her own tormented ""hushed life-drama"". Longing for a Dantean love, she reacted in soul and lyric when her suitors failed to fill the passionate Latin outlines of her nature and the one man she truly loved (according to this biographer's interpretation), the poet William Bell Scott, moved out of her romantic range. Reshaping and reviewing her spiritual experience to the last, Christina wrote until she died a virginal death at the age of 64, leaving a solemn, emotional body of lyrics as her opera. Taking her poetry as the stream of Christina's life, this biographer constructs an elusive personality of faith, ambivalence and religious guilt, emphasizing the role of Scott, the previously unrecognized love. A careful scholarly work for careful scholars; without critical evaluations, it reserves its interest for close observers of the Rossetti family's literary creativity. Overpriced.

Publisher: Univ. of Calif