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Christina Rossetti

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Rebecca Scott

on 21 December 2012

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Transcript of Christina Rossetti

Themes Sister Maude Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer. by Christina
Rossetti Born 5 December 1830
Died 29 December 1894
Educated at home
Met many artists and scholars Literature Centred:
Religious Texts
Classics (Ancient Texts, Greek/Roman)
Novels
Fairy Tales Dante Alighieri Petrarch John Keats Father diagnosed with Tuberculosis, Bronchitis, Depression, and near-blindness.
Gave up his teaching job; Mother, Brothers and Sisters all had to find work.
Died when Christina was 24. Nervous Breakdown Age 14
Suffered from Depression
Physically Frail Had three offers of marriage
Engaged Twice
Never married Volunteered for 10 years at St Mary Magadalene's charity for fallen women in Highgate The Poem Rhetorical Question - used to accuse Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer.

Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace.

You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you.

My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late.

My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. Emotional Pain Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace. You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you. My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late. Connotations of Death My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. Who is the Narrator? What is the 'Shame'? Who is the Corpse? Numbered Heads:
1) Who is the Narrator, and what is
their shame?
2) Who is the corpse?

Make your decision and choose
your evidence from the poem Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer.

Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace.

You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you.

My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late.

My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. Spared his great grief at the Narrator's shame
Maude could even have spared his life Avoided the grief they both
feel at their father's death Father is in heaven - religious imagery Queen's embrace indicates he
was a good and noble man Corpse = The Father Corpse is definitely male Suggests they are both alive Corpse = The Lover 'Curls', 'Comeliest'
Handsome man Maude inflicted emotional pain
on all three, not just the lover Clotted Curls - could indicate
blood and violence Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer.

Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace.

You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you.

My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late.

My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. Sister Maude won't get any
sleep because of her wickedness Early - in this life
Late - in the next Deserves to be in Hell Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer.

Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace.

You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you.

My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late.

My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. Narrator and Shame: vs. Homosexual Relationship Relationship before marriage Worthy of the most noble
woman in the land Not necessarily that Maude is ugly;
if the narrator is a man, then the lover wouldn't be interested in a woman The narrator is prettier
than Maude, who wouldn't turn
the lovers head twice Poet is unsure whether they would be let in to Heaven
Believes their sin or shame is not as bad as Maude's actions Possibility that despite their
illicit relationship they will still be
accepted in to Heaven Only name in the poem
Maude = Powerful in Battle
Sibling Relationships Simile - as cold as death Caesura - break in the middle of a metrical line - reflects the poets frustration Negative language Handsome, worthy of honour Even if the Poet didn't exist, the lover would never have considered Maude Death Metaphor
Common scriptural term Alliteration - Harsh 'S'
Reflects Poet's condemnation In this life or the next Golden Gown, Crown; religious imagery implying Heaven Eternal Punishment of Hell Male or Female? Love/Lust
Hetero/Homosexual
Familial/Romantic Sibling Rivalry Death Literal death of father and possibly lover
Metaphorical/Spiritual death of Maude Betrayal Jealousy Death Literal death of the father
and possibly lover
Metaphorical/Spiritual Death of Maude BETRAYAL Italian Poet of the Middle Ages
Known as the Father of the Italian Language
One of the founding fathers of the love poem Father of the Sonnet form, which Rossetti occasionally used as a rough base for some of her poems Rossetti especially loved Keats
Famous for sensual imagery
Romantic Poem
Often uses the 4 - 4 - 4 - 6 stanza
Rossetti adopted this in Sister Maude
Full transcript