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Christina Rossetti, John Keble, and the Divine Gaze

Christina Rossetti, John Keble, and the Divine Gaze ESTHER T. HU lthough William Michael claimed that his sister "thought nothing of Keble as a poet," marginalia in Christina Rossetti's copy of The Christian Year (1827) show Keble's influence on her developing religious voice and vision.1 Recent scholarship has examined Rossetti's indebtedness to Keble and the Tractarian tradition: Diane D'Amico and David Kent's review, "Rossetti and the Tractarians,"2 traces contributions by Raymond Chapman, G. B. Tennyson, Linda Marshall, Antony Harrison, Mary Arseneau, Lorraine Kooistra, and others who have explored the connections between Rossetti and the Oxford Movement. Nevertheless, in reading Rossetti's St. Peter poems in tandem with Keble's "St. Peter's Day," from The Christian Year, we notice the poetic and theological distinctiveness of Rossetti's devotional poetics. Whereas Keble emphasizes St. Peter's prerogative and power of apostolic responsibility transmitted from Christ's divine commission,3 Rossetti emphasizes individual penitence and humility inspired by St. Peter's denial of knowing Christ, and Christ's movement in subsequently turning and looking at him. Rossetti transfigures the Divine Look, which appears in three stanzas in "St. Peter's Day," into a moment of sustained encounter: a gaze.4 She connects her St. Peter poems through the gesture of turning and looking, which becomes, in analogical terms, an http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Christina Rossetti, John Keble, and the Divine Gaze

Victorian Poetry , Volume 46 (2) – Jun 15, 2008

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University
ISSN
1530-7190
Publisher site
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Abstract

ESTHER T. HU lthough William Michael claimed that his sister "thought nothing of Keble as a poet," marginalia in Christina Rossetti's copy of The Christian Year (1827) show Keble's influence on her developing religious voice and vision.1 Recent scholarship has examined Rossetti's indebtedness to Keble and the Tractarian tradition: Diane D'Amico and David Kent's review, "Rossetti and the Tractarians,"2 traces contributions by Raymond Chapman, G. B. Tennyson, Linda Marshall, Antony Harrison, Mary Arseneau, Lorraine Kooistra, and others who have explored the connections between Rossetti and the Oxford Movement. Nevertheless, in reading Rossetti's St. Peter poems in tandem with Keble's "St. Peter's Day," from The Christian Year, we notice the poetic and theological distinctiveness of Rossetti's devotional poetics. Whereas Keble emphasizes St. Peter's prerogative and power of apostolic responsibility transmitted from Christ's divine commission,3 Rossetti emphasizes individual penitence and humility inspired by St. Peter's denial of knowing Christ, and Christ's movement in subsequently turning and looking at him. Rossetti transfigures the Divine Look, which appears in three stanzas in "St. Peter's Day," into a moment of sustained encounter: a gaze.4 She connects her St. Peter poems through the gesture of turning and looking, which becomes, in analogical terms, an

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jun 15, 2008

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