“Truth to nature”: the pleasures and dangers of the environment in Christina Rossetti’s poetry

Trowbridge, Serena (2016) “Truth to nature”: the pleasures and dangers of the environment in Christina Rossetti’s poetry. In: Victorian Writers and the Environment. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 63-78. ISBN 9780367346447

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Abstract

In her “Reading Diary” Time Flies (1885), Christina Rossetti describes the rotting corpse of a mouse, to which she links her early understanding of the nature of death and decay. Yet in the same book, she urges the reader to consider the beauty, and the moral message, of the forget-me-not fl ower. The natural environment thus provides a range of Christian parables for the Tractarian reader. One might argue that “Rossetti’s fl owers and plants are all a testimony to God’s love” (Roe 23). It is diffi cult for a modern reader to overestimate the extent to which Christina Rossetti’s poetry is shaped by her faith. As a Tractarian, Rossetti espoused a brand of High Anglicanism that juxtaposed a strong belief in the transformative powers of literature with respect for the world in which we live.1 The Tractarian movement, itself a literary approach to faith, emphasized the importance of the natural world as a manifestation of God’s work, and many of the texts produced by its adherents (and indeed works favored by them, notably the Romantic poets including Wordsworth)2 offer something close to pantheism in their ability to “see” God’s hand in the world around them, though their approach is distinct from this: the world is a refl ection of God rather than a manifestation.

Item Type: Book Section
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315548234
Date: 6 December 2016
Subjects: Q300 English studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > School of English
REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA27: English Language and Literature
Depositing User: Selina Schmidt
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2020 11:42
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2020 11:42
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9983

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