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7. A Birthday
About this Lecture
In this module, we read through the poem ‘A Birthday’, focusing in particular on: (i) the use of rhyme, especially that which sits outside of the formal rhyme scheme; (ii) the use of simile – and the limitations of simile; (iii) the use of pathetic fallacy and the emotional circularity of the similes in the first stanza; and (iv) the use of Christian imagery and symbolism (e.g. “apple-tree”, “rainbow”, “dove”, etc.) and the potential for a religious reading of the poem alongside the more immediate erotic one.
In this course, Professor Tom Mole (University of Edinburgh) explores the poetry of Christina Rossetti, focusing in particular on the fourteen poems listed for study for OCR English Literature A Level (excluding ‘Goblin Market’). A detailed commentary is provided for each of the poems, including comments on historical context, language and style, rhyme and repetition, relationships with other texts – especially the Bible – and much more.
The poems covered in this course are:
1. Song (‘When I am dead, my dearest’)
3. From the Antique
5. Shut Out
6. In the Round Tower at Jhansi
7. A Birthday
8. Winter, My Secret
9. Maude Clare
11. ‘No, Thank You, John’
12. Good Friday
14. Soeur Louise de la Miséricorde
Tom Mole is Reader in English Literature and Director of the Centre for the History of the Book. He has previously held appointments at the University of Glasgow, the University of Bristol and, most recently, as Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he was Principal Investigator of the Interacting with Print Research Group.
Mole's interests include literature of the Romantic period in Britain, especially Lord Byron. His monograph, Byron's Romantic Celebrity (Palgrave, 2007), argues that our modern celebrity culture began in the Romantic period, and that Lord Byron should be understood as one of its earliest examples and most astute critics. He edited Romanticism and Celebrity Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and a volume of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (Pickering and Chatto, 2006).
Cite this Lecture
Mole, T. (2019, March 29). The Poetry of Christina Rossetti - A Birthday [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-poetry-of-christina-rossetti-mole/a-birthday
Mole, Tom. "The Poetry of Christina Rossetti – A Birthday." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Mar 2019, https://massolit.io/courses/the-poetry-of-christina-rossetti-mole/a-birthday