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Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Christina Rossetti , Betty Flowers
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 July 2001 Penguin Classics
Rossetti is unique among Victorian poets for the sheer range of her subject matter and the variety of her verse form. This collection brings together fantasy poems, such as Goblin Market, and terrifyingly vivid verses for children, love lyrics and sonnets, and the vast body of her devotional poetry. Rossetti's poems weave connections between love and death, triumph and loss, heavenly joys and earthly pleasures. The directness and clarity of her lyrics still have the power to startle us with their truth and beauty.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (26 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140423664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140423662
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Christina Rossetti's sonnets, ballads, nursery rhymes and devotional verse--all collected in The Complete Poems--confirm her reputation as one of the leading Pre-Raphaelite poets and a significant voice in Victorian poetry. She is possibly most loved for the elegant and simple "A Christmas Carol", popularly known as "In the Bleak Mid-Winter", first published in 1875 and set to music by Gustav Holst:
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.
Its incantatory repetition and direct, lean diction signal what is strongest in Rossetti's style. These qualities recur in much that's reprinted in this volume, in such poems as "Who Shall Deliver Me?", which echoes George Herbert's deeply religious metaphorical voice: "I lock my door upon myself / And bar them out; but who shall wall / Self from myself, most loathed of all?". In "Grown and Flown", "L.E.L." and "Life and Death", Rossetti's main themes of thwarted love and a yearning for death are entwined:
Sweet sweet love was
Now bitter bitter grown to me...
heart-breaking for a little love...
Life is not good.
One day it will be good
To die, then live again;...
Only dead refuse stubble clothe the plain:
Asleep from risk, asleep from pain.
While Rossetti famously rejected two suitors who did not share her religious fervour, in "Autumn", her striving for High Anglican moral purity strains: "I dwell alone--I dwell alone, alone / Whilst full my river flows down to the sea... O love-pangs, let me be". For her, death is a welcome relief from earthly suffering and "The Convent Threshold" conveys her choice unequivocally: "Your eyes look earthward, mine look up... I choose the stairs that mount above..." But Rossetti's charm lies in the intensity of her fight against denied pleasures and these overflow with sensual abundance and charged eroticism in one of her best known poems, "Goblin Market", in which two young maidens are tempted by the fruits of "goblin men" with "their hungry thirsty roots". The urgent descriptions of obsessive desire are rarely matched in later poems and "Goblin Market" remains an eerie and forceful work. --Cherry Smyth

About the Author

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), sister of the poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was educated at home and shared her family's intellectual interests. Ill-health ended her work as a governess and later made her an invalid. Her poetry was first published in 1850 in the Pre-Raphaelite magazine, The Germ, and several volumes of poetry followed, demonstrating an extraordinary emotional and technical range.

Betty Sue Flowers is Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Rossetti's works are, above all, musical. Her acute ear enabled her to compose lyrical and melodic works that strike you for their sound before meaning.
Her poems are sometimes obsessive over death, which she sees to be a release -
Life is not sweet, one day it will be sweet
To shut our eyes and die
from the world that she clearly has no trust or faith in (poem: 'The World'). Her deep religiousness often shows through her choice of words, and her longer poems such as 'The hour and the ghost' are close to ballad form. Her poems contrast quite well which makes for really fascinating reading.
Her poems are often comforting in their use of satisfying rhyme ('Song' and 'Later life' sonnet 23) and some of her love poetry is bitter as hell.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I dont know much about poetry...... 1 Feb 2010
By Lozza
As someone who did a degree in English literature and managed to avoid almost all the poetry i was assigned to read, even im surprised by how much i love Rossetti! I really have tried over the years to get into poetry, but no matter how much i read or from what genre and era i always found it unnecessarily flowery, confusing and - to be frank - dull. This changed however when i discovered Rossetti. I find a real sadness and sense of loss in some of her poems, many of which are heartbreaking. They are also beautifully lyrical and like Shakespeare ive found the best way to read her work is aloud. I can quite happily sit for an hour just dipping into her collection and losing myself in her words. I'd recommend everyone look her up, even if like me are really not the poetry type, because i think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A major English poet 26 April 2005
Best known for the words of the carol 'In a bleak mid-winter' This work demonstrate she is probably the best English poet of the short poetic form and writes over a wide variety of topics especially nature.
Like all the best poets she writes from her experience of life and is unafraid to express her true inner feelings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Christina Rosetti Poems 6 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was bought as a Christmas present, my finacee reads it all the time she only wishes it was hardback
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WHEN I AM DEAD MY DEAREST. (POEM) 11 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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