Since C.H. Sisson’s Selected Poems (Carcanet, 1984), Christina Rossetti’s readership has burgeoned. Almost a century ago Ford Madox Ford claimed her as ‘the most valuable poet that the Victorian age produced’, and – as Valentine Cunningham recently declared – she now sits at top table with Tennyson, Browning, Hopkins and Barrett Browning.
Feminist and queer scholars have since laid claim to Rossetti; but her Anglo-Catholic faith was never incidental to the power of even her most secular poems and is at the heart of her imaginative work. As an Anglican priest and poet, Rachel Mann in her selection appreciates Rossetti’s ambition while attending, too, to recent scholarship that focuses on the religious, feminist and fantastical elements in her work.
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