Christina Rossetti’s Environmental Consciousness  book cover
1st Edition

Christina Rossetti’s Environmental Consciousness

ISBN 9781032092812
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

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

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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.