Note 18, Chapter 4 of the author's Christina Rossetti in Context which the University of North Carolina Press published in 1988. It appears in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.

The full comments by William Michael Rossetti and Ralph Bellas concerning Augustine's influence are helpful at this point. Rossetti explains that, "theology [Christina] studied, I think, very little indeed: there was the Bible, of which her knowledge was truly minute and ready, supplemented by the Confessions of Augustine and The Imitation of Christ.... I question whether, apart from this one book of Augustine, she ever read any 'Father,' Latin or Greek, or desired to read him" (Works, lxix). Extending Rossetti's remarks, Ralph Bellas observes that, "next in importance [to the Bible] were The Confessions of St. Augustine and the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. Christina's religious sensibility resembled Augustine's and Thomas's in her acute awareness of worldly temptations, of man's sinfulness, and of his unworthiness in God's eyes. Augustine's ... Christian Platonism especially appealed to her" (Christina Rossetti, 18).


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Last modified 24 June 2007