Christina Rossetti, by her brother Dante, 1866. Here is an overview of her life and times: 19th century Britain, a period of rapid industrialization, the creation of a new middle class, the abandonment of the countryside, the squalor of urban slums – and cultural, religious and artistic reactions, including nostalgia for the way things were. Dante Rossetti started a Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; Christina wrote 500 devotional poems on the sacramental things of the earth: bread, oil, water, wine. She’s best known as the author of the Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

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