Christina Rossetti’s Environmental Consciousness: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Christina Rossetti’s Environmental Consciousness

1st Edition

By Todd O. Williams


162 pages

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Hardback: 9780367112042
pub: 2019-05-08
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Christina Rossetti’s Environmental Consciousness takes a cognitive ecocritical approach to Rossetti’s writing as it developed throughout her career. This study provides a unique understanding of Rossetti’s identity as an artist through a cognitive model while also engaging significantly with her spiritual relationship to the nonhuman world. Rossetti was a deliberate and conscious creator who used her writing for therapeutic purposes to create, contemplate, maintain, verify, and, revise her identity. Her understanding of her autobiographical self and her place in the world often comes through observations and poetic treatments of the nonhuman. Rossetti, her speakers, and her characters seek spiritual knowledge in the natural world and share this knowledge with an audience. In nature, Rossetti finds evidence for and guidance from a loving God who offers salvation. Her work places a high value on nature from a Christian perspective that puts conservation over renunciation. She frequently uses strategies that have now been identified by Christian environmentalist such as retrieval, ecojustice, stewardship, and ecological spirituality. With new readings of popular works like "Goblin Market" and "A Birthday," along with treatments of largely neglected works like Verses (1847) and Rossetti’s devotional writings, Christina Rossetti’s Environmental Consciousness offers an understanding of Rossetti’s processes and purposes as a writer and displays new potential for her work in the face of twenty-first-century environmental issues.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Cognitive Ecocriticism and Rossetti

Ecocriticism and the Mind

Rossetti and Psychology

Rossetti and Ecocriticism


Chapter 1: Self-Creation and Environment

Wayfinding Cognition

The Autobiographical Self and Sociocultural Homeostasis

The Cognitive Model

Chapter 2: Embodied Christian Aesthetics and Environmental Ethics

Agape in Nature

Dark ‘Nature’ and Religious Environmentalism

The Anthropocentricism Debate

Implicit Environmental Ethics

Chapter 3: Gleaning Ruth: Early Poetry

Youthful Strains: Verses (1847)

Being Ellen Alleyn: The Germ

Nameless Rhymester: Blackwood’s Magazine Submissions

Chapter 4: Victorious Jael: First Major Poetry Volumes

Traveling Uphill: Macmillan’s Magazine

Wayfinding Sisters: "Goblin Market"

Seasons of Redemption: Goblin Market and The Prince’s Progress Volumes

Chapter 5: Pious Hannah: Early Devotional Writings

Retrieving Scripture for the Christian Year: Annus Domini

Evangelist Models and Nature’s Mirrors: Called to Be Saints

Creation and Redemption: Seek and Find

Chapter 6: Fruitful Sarah: The Pageant and Other Poems

Time’s Order

The Cognitive Model in Poetry

Sonnets of Earthly and Spiritual Love

Chapter 7: Prophetess Anna: Later Devotional Writings

Nature’s Commandments: Letter and Spirit

Autobiographical Self-Revision: Time Flies

Saints and Animals: Revisions to Time Flies

Apocalyptic Environmentalism: The Face of the Deep

About the Author

Todd Owen Williams received his PhD in Literary Criticism and Theory from Kent State University. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where he teaches composition and literature courses including Literature and Psychology and Early World Literature. He has published multiple articles on literary pedagogy, and on Victorian authors including the Rossettis, William Morris, and Oscar Wilde. He is the author of A Therapeutic Approach to Teaching Poetry and a contributor to the volume Teaching Victorian Literature in the Twenty-First Century.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

Since the dawn of human artistic and cultural expression, the natural world and our complex and often vexed relationships with the other-than-human have been essential themes in such expression. This series seeks to offer an encompassing approach to literary explorations of environmental experiences and ideas, reaching from the earliest known literatures to the twenty-first century and accounting for vernacular approaches throughout the world. In recent decades, it has become clear that highly localized, non-Western forms of literary expression and scholarly analysis have much to contribute to ecocritical understanding—such studies, as well as examinations of European and North American literatures, are encouraged. Comparative treatments of literary works from different cultures, cultural expression in various media (including literature and connections with visual and performing arts, ecocinema, music, videogames, and material culture), and interdisciplinary scholarly methodologies would be ideal contributions to the series. What are the lessons regarding human-animal kinship that can be gleaned from indigenous songs in Africa, Amazonia, Oceania, the Americas, and other regions of the world? Which discourses of toxicity in the urban centers of contemporary East Asia and the post-industrial brownscapes of Europe and America might gain traction as we seek to balance human and ecological health and robust economies? What are some of the Third World expressions of postcolonial ecocriticism, posthumanism, material ecocriticism, gender-based ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and other avant-garde trends? How do basic concepts such as "wilderness" or "animal rights" or "pollution" find expression in diverse environmental voices and become imbricated with questions of caste, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity? The global circulation of culturally diverse texts provides resources for understanding and engaging with the environmental crisis. This series aims to provide a home for projects demonstrating both traditional and experimental approaches in environmental literary studies.

Series Editors:

Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Previous Editors:

Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University, USA

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