"A road from earth to sky" : Christina Rossetti's theological arrangements.


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This project examines the arrangement of three of Rossetti’s volumes of poetry in light of her Tractarian theological commitments, especially to the doctrines of analogy and reserve. The doctrine of analogy asserts that each visible creation signifies a spiritual reality, and the doctrine of reserve posits that religious knowledge should be revealed only to those who are ready to receive it. These doctrines are reflected in the relationship between the two sections of each volume, the general section and the devotional section: symbols that appear in the general section often reappear in the devotional section, but with explicit spiritual significance. Although there have been article-length treatments of the arrangement of specific volumes, this dissertation provides the first sustained treatment of arrangement across Rossetti’s oeuvre and the most detailed treatment of its relationship to her theological commitments. In so doing, it provides a window into her strategies for leading both secular and religious readers toward the Beatific Vision.