The Religious Poetry of Christina Rossetti

Graduation Date

Spring 1947

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Granting Institution

Catholic University of America

Program Name



When William Michael Rossetti edited the complete poetical works of his sister in 1903, the devotional poems made up no less than one hundred and ninety-two pages. Written in the years between 1848 and 1893, from the time Christina was eighteen until the year before her death, the poems in their entirety make up “The largest body of English religious verse since George Herbert.”

The study has for its purpose an examination of the themes, sources, and images in Christina Rossetti’s religious poetry in order to show the relationship existing between them. Aside from the poems themselves, the Authorized Version of the Bible, and the Book of Common Prayer were of value in determining such a relationship. Christina Rossetti’s reading diary, Time Flies served the purpose of revealing that she frequently repeated in this most autobiographical of her prose works the thoughts which served as themes in her poetry. The most intimate knowledge of Christina as a person and her relations with her contemporaries were obtained from her brother William’s Memoir and Mackenzie Bell’s critical study, which appeared but four years after the poet’s death.