Love, longing and hope in three sonnets from ‘Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets’
Pérez Imirizaldu, Olaia
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Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) has usually been recognized as one of the most prominent Victorian female poets both by her contemporaries and present scholars since her rediscovery in the 20th century. Nevertheless, not all her works have received the same attention, being most of them shadowed by her fairy tale masterpiece Goblin Market (1862). In addition, she has quite often been undervalued or misinterpreted due to the extent religion has influenced almost every of her poems. Although her sonnet sequence ‘Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets’ from her poem collection A Peagant and Other Poems (1881) has long been neglected, some scholars have lately been interested in it due to the recuperation of woman voices in recent gender studies. Here the attempt is to provide some other possible interpretations of the poems of this sonnet sequence by analysing the themes of love, longing and hope in the third, the eight and the last sonnet. For that purpose, it seems necessary to give some background information such as the historical context and C. Rossetti’s religious influences, preceding and contemporary women poets, and Pre-Raphaelitism, together with a brief biography of this poetess. Then, we will turn to the sonnet sequence suggesting an interpretation of the title regarding unnamed ladies and the way in which they are given voice in the sequence, highlighting some facts about the sonnet itself and finally referring to C. Rossetti’s introduction to her work. There is no need to say that thee quotations by Dante and Petrarch which precede each poem are important and closely knit with the poems themselves. The meaning of each stanza, tone, mood, syntax, punctuation, texture and imagery will be analysed. To conclude, the decrease of hope and longing, the acceptance of reality, and the strength of the several manifestations love will be suggested as the link of the sonnets chosen from ‘Monna Innominata’.