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‘Occupation and Interruptions’: Caring and Creativity in the Work of Pre-Raphaelite poet, Christina Rossetti

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Dinah Roe will discuss how Christina Rossetti’s previously overlooked work as a carer is inextricably linked to her creativity. Caring work taught Rossetti to develop what she called ‘A startling view of occupations and interruptions’ that allowed her not only to live with divided attention, but to see it as a spiritual and creative opportunity. Re-examining selected works in light of Rossetti’s caring responsibilities, she will argue that the imaginative, gothic and spiritual energies of Rossetti’s portrayals of domestic life derive from her experience of caring for relatives at home.

Dinah Roe is a Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Oxford Brookes University. She specialises in Victorian poetry, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Rossetti family. She is currently working on Christina Rossetti: The Complete Poems for Longman Annotated English Poets series.

IMAGE: Dante Gabriel, Christina Rossetti (1866)