E212-M Dante Gabriel Rossetti Questions

Assigned: "The Blessed Damozel" (1573-78).

"The Blessed Damozel"

1. Why do the mortal lover's words appear in parentheses? How does he speak of the distance between the Damozel and himself? How does he represent her understanding of her temporal and spatial separation from him?

2. What relationship does the poem posit, in its presentation of the Damozel, between spirit and body, and between mysticism and eroticism?

3. What devices or strategies does the speaker employ to help us visualize the Damozel and interpret her words and actions? For example, where is the Damozel exactly, and how is she clothed — what is the significance of objects such as "stars," "lilies," etc? What role does nature imagery play in this poem?

Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vols. 2A-C. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. ISBN 2A = 0393975681, 2B = 039397569X, 2C = 0393975703.