Goblin Market

“We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits:” Written in 1859 by  Christina Rossetti (sister to Dante Gabriel Rossetti), Goblin Market is a narrative poem of two sisters who encounter temptation. It is a complex poem–almost too complex to delve into for a blog post simply because it is hard…
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Rossetti’s Models

Like his Pre-Raphaelite brethren, Dante Gabriel Rossetti used live models in his works.  Throughout the course of his career, the same faces grace his canvasses, ranging from family members to lovers.  Occasionally, models Elizabeth Siddal and Alexa Wilding are confused for each other. Other models may be misidentified completely. so this post is intended to…
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Did Elizabeth Siddal inspire Bram Stoker?

In the early years of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, artist Walter Deverell discovered Elizabeth Siddal working in a millinery shop.  After modeling for his painting Twelfth Night, Siddal posed for several Pre-Raphaelite painters, including William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.  It was the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti who was captivated by her. He drew and…
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Hide Me Among the Graves

Tim Powers doesn’t write about your run-of-the-mill vampires.  His undead may feed upon you, but in return they will inspire words and poetry that you could never have written before.  I found Powers’ mythology to be a refreshing twist.  In Hide Me Among the Graves, the artistic Rossetti family deals with the vampiric curse of…
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Love is a place

One of the benefits of an active reading life is that when you read not only for pleasure but for improvement, then similar themes in different authors’ works seem to just float to you. Unbidden. Like synergy. Today I read e.e.  cummings’ Love is a Place: love is a place & through this place of…
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Lewis Carroll and the Pre-Raphaelites

Alice in Wonderland has a strong hold on our popular culture.  Over a century has passed since it and the sequel Through the Looking Glass were written and Alice’s strange journeys charm us still.  How many times can we reinterpret this book on screen?  It seems to be an endless source of inspiration and the…
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I stretch my hands and catch at Hope

According to myth, after Prometheus stole fire from the gods, Zeus wanted to punish mankind. He ordered Hephaistos and other gods to create a woman that they would endow with gifts and beauty. Hephaistos created her lovely form; the Four Winds breathed life into her. Her beauty was given to her by Aphrodite. Zeus bestowed…
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Forbidden Fruit

Mauvais Sujet is not your stereotypical, chocolate-box-pretty Victorian portrait.  She’s almost uncomfortable to look at, as she is both very young and almost sensual. On her desk you can see her name, Mary, scrawled in a childlike hand.   I’m not exactly sure what Madox Brown wants us to feel about her.  She’s obviously idle, choosing…
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True Painters of Light

When the artist Thomas Kinkade rose to fame, I could net help but be irritated when he styled himself as the “Painter of Light” and then proceeded to trademark it as his title.  Because there are artists among the Pre-Raphaelite circle that captured light.  And they did it better. William Holman Hunt painted The Light…
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Delightful! The Rossettis as cartoon characters

You know I love the Rossetti family, but I have never thought of them as adorable before.  Until I saw the illustrations of Chiara Moriconi, who captures the Rossetti clan delightfully. Here’s a link to the Rossetti album on Facebook, and a wonderful video that introduces members of Rossetti’s circle via chiaramoriconi.com.  

I Lock My Door Upon Myself

  Fernand Khnopff was not a Pre-Raphaelite painter, but I wanted to share his 1891 painting I Lock My Door Upon Myself which draws inspiration from Christina Rossetti’s poem Who Shall Deliver Me? Khnopff’s title comes specifically from this stanza: I lock my door upon myself, And bar them out; but who shall wall Self…
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Old and New Year Ditties by Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti’s Old and New Year Ditties strike me as somewhat melancholy: 1 New Year met me somewhat sad: Old Year leaves me tired, Stripped of favourite things I had Baulked of much desired: Yet farther on my road to-day God willing, farther on my way. New Year coming on apace What have you to…
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A Diamond or a Coal?

I enjoy this poem by Christina Rossetti  for its simplicity and for its deeper meaning.  Taken from her book Sing-Song  which was published in 1893.  You can see a digitized version of the first edition via Google Books. Illustrations by Arthur Hughes. An emerald is as green as grass; A ruby red as blood; A…
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Goblin Market

It pains me that Christina Rossetti was completely overlooked and left out of the miniseries Desperate Romantics. Since the program has brought new visitors to my site, I thought I would share one of her poems, Goblin Market.  Also, for those interested, you can download a free audiobook of Goblin Market here. Goblin Market by…
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Christina Rossetti: Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

When discussing poetry and the Pre-Raphaelites, it is impossible not to think of Christina Rossetti.  Her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and used Christina as a model in some of his early Pre-Raphaelite works (The Girlhood of Mary Virgin and Ecce Ancilla Domini). The poem I’ve…
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An Echo from Willowwood

An Echo from Willowwood by Christina Rossetti “O ye, all ye that walk in Willowwood.” (D.G. Rossetti) Two gazed into a pool, he gazed and she, Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I think, Pale and reluctant on the water’s brink, As on the brink of parting which must be. Each eyed the…
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Sleeping At Last

Sleeping at last, the trouble and tumult over, Sleeping at last, the struggle and horror past, Cold and white, out of sight of friend and of lover, Sleeping at last. No more a tired heart downcast or overcast, No more pangs that wring or shifting fears that hover, Sleeping at last in a dreamless sleep…
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Remember

Remember, by Christina Rossetti REMEMBER me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann’d: Only…
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