Commonplace, and Other Short Stories (1870) suggests that Christina Rossetti (roh-ZEHT-ee) may have once had the notion of becoming a novelist. Unlike other female poets of the period, she wrote a great deal in prose, both secular and religious. “Commonplace,” the title story, is not usually considered to be the best of these prose pieces. That honor is reserved for “The Lost Titian,” the plot of which revolves around two friends’ competitive praise for another friend’s painting. In the end, all three discover one another’s vanities. “Vanna’s Twins” is a touching story of childhood and demonstrates Rossetti’s power in delineating character among lower-middle-class Italians. Speaking Likenesses (1874), a series of stories told to some girls by their aunt as they pass the time sewing, stands in the shadows of Lewis Carroll’s and Jean Ingelow’s works of the same period.
Annus Domini (1874) is a devotional prose work, the first of several, which includes a prayer for each day of the year. These pieces were influenced by The Book of Common Prayer. Other devotional works include Seek and Find, 1879; Called to Be Saints, 1881; Letter and Spirit, 1882; Time Flies, 1885; The Face of the Deep, 1892; and Maude, 1897.