In the spirit of celebrating the gifts and achievements of women, of the season of Advent, and of yesterday’s official beginning of winter, it seems timely to recall the author of the poem “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Christina Rossetti (December 5, 1830 – December 29, 1894).
Rossetti’s work incorporates theological themes, probably most heavily influenced by the Tractarian, or Oxford Movement in Victorian Anglicanism. Her relationship to Victorian feminism was reportedly ambiguous, although her work (in particular, “Goblin Market”) arguably embodies latent feminist content, and scholar Lynda Palazzo has devoted a book to a study of Christina Rosetti’s Feminist Theology.
There are many renditions of “In the Bleak Midwinter” on the internet, most often set to music composed by Gustav Holst, ranging from full choral performances to instrumental solos; here are a couple:
by Corinne May
by the Pipettes