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A Valentine from Christina

Christina and her mother Frances (photograph by Lewis Carroll)

It is said that the mother of the Victorian poet  Christina Rossetti  once remarked, "I have never received a valentine from anyone."  Christina responded by not only giving her mother a valentine, but with it, an original poem. Annually.  For some 40 years.  The never-married Christina was very close to her mother and was rarely separated from her for 55 years.  Here is one of those valentine poems which I read to our Truth, Beauty, Goodness Community last week. (I wonder how many mothers from our group will now be getting an original poem this Valentine's Day?)

St. Valentine's Day.  1885.

All the Robin Redbreasts
     Have lived the winter thro',
Jenny Wrens have pecked their fill
     And found a work to do,
Families of Sparrows
     Have weathered wind & storm
With Rabbit on the stony hill
     And Hare upon her form.

You & I, my Mother,
     Have lived the winter thro',
And still we play our daily parts
     And still find work to do:
And still the cornfields flourish,
     The olive & the vine,
And still you reign my Queen of Hearts
     And I'm your Valentine.

Here are  some of my favorite resources that I used this term.  First up is my  main source for her poems.

Christina Rossetti The Complete Poems  Penguin Classics
Each family owns a copy.  I have found that it is so much easier for everyone to have their own copy so that when the readings are assigned, I don't have to send a bunch of links or make lots of copies.  This book is HUGE (1,221 pp.) but a great resource to have on hand as we read poetry daily.  Plus, Christina wrote poems for just about every occasion and the students enjoyed looking up and reading on their own from this.

Great Women Authors by Smith and Carlson
A great resource for the teacher.  Each chapter is followed by recommended reading ideas.  Helpful insights into the spiritual lives of the featured women authors.

Christina Rossetti Poet - A Rookie Biography
A bare-bones children's biography.  Definitely not a living book, but as in the rest of this series, lots of photographs and a timeline.  On a curious note - this was the only children's book on her that I could find. 

The Rossettis in Wonderland - A Victorian Family History by Dinah Roe
Terrifically fascinating book about the entire artistic Rossetti family.  Places their art and lives in the context of the Victorian world at that time.  

Christina Rossetti A Divided Life by Battiscombe
A "just-right" biography for the teacher to read before the term.

I read other books on her, but these are my top picks for those of you who like to have lots of background information.  The students were mainly exposed to the poetry, with a minimum of background information from me.  

The point is the poetry.

From joy to joy,

Nancy







7 comments:

  1. Your posts are so inspiring. I see you are also spreading your wings a bit--(your tabs). What an inspiration you are Nancy. What an example of excellence to so many. I will miss you ladies this year at LER, but maybe next. Take care friend, and God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Pam. Oh - we will miss you, too. Thank you for letting me know.

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  2. Fun! Thank you for these resources. Christina Rossetti has been a favorite of ours ever since I discovered her through Amblesideonline. Happy Valentine's Day! ♥ ♥

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    1. Yes, isn't it a fun story? It is her spiritual side that impresses me so greatly each time I read. Funny she isn't more well-known/popular.

      Cool hearts!

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  3. What a sweet story! I must get a copy of "The Rosettis in Wonderland". I love family biographies.

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    1. And what a family! It could make a great movie, I think. Thanks for stopping by.

      From joy to joy,

      Nancy

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  4. What a sweet and blessed mother/daughter relationship! Rosetti is a poet I humbly admit to not owning in our home. Thanks for the resources; I'll be looking some up : D

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