Note 9, Chapter 5 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.
Mackenzie Bell observes that Christina Rossetti "was herself a student of Dante, though not in so profound a sense as her father, her sister, or William. As to this aspect of her character Mr. [William Sharp] reports a very interesting utterance: 'I wish [she said] I too could have done something for Dante in England! Maria wrote her fine and helpful book, William's translation of the "Divina Commedia" is the best we have, and Gabriel's "Dante and His Circle" is a monument of loving labor that will outlast either. But I, alas, have neither the requisite knowledge nor the ability'" (Christina Rossetti, 63-64). Bell also cites Christina Rossetti's letter of 28 March 1892 to Patchett Martin, editor of Literary Opinion, in which she volunteers to review for him any new book on Dante: "Perhaps enthusiasm for my subject might make up for scant learning," she proffers modestly. However, as Bell observes, "She did not [in the end] write on Dante for Literary Opinion" (p. 131). For brief, general remarks about the Dantean influence on Christina Rossetti, see also Bell, Christina Rossetti, 355; and Bellas, Christina Rossetti, 18-19.
Last modified 24 June 2007