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Goblin Market

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  5,029 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Today as in 1862 when Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market first appeared, the "little grey men who tramp the glen" still offer their tempting wares to any Laura who cannot resist. "Come buy, come buy," is still their cry. Laura, captured by the sugar-baited words, tastes their magic offerings and is lost to a consuming hunger. Only the courage of her living sister pulls Lau ...more
Hardcover, 47 pages
Published 1969 by Franklin Watts (first published 1862)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cecily
I remember enjoying some of Rossetti's shorter poems as I child (not that this is especially long), but was not familiar with this until I heard an extraordinary reading on BBC Radio 4 by Shirley Henderson a few months' ago. I've tried to find a link, but can only find a very short sample: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01q2c44

It is a hypnotic poem about temptation, salivation, and salvation via sacrifice, told in contrasts: a sensible sister and a weak-willed one; gorgeous fruit, from hideou
...more
Keely
The intellectual critic is able to remove himself from this poem's pomophilic lesbianism and focus on an analysis of the many literary elements present. The lesser man simply counts himself lucky to find two such beautiful events in utopic cohabitation.
K.D. Absolutely
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) was an English poet during the Victorian age. She had this fondness to write poems about death. Examples of this are Remember that is her most famous poem and my mum's favorite, When I am Dead My Dearest.

But this long poem, Goblin Market is not about death. Rather it is about succumbing to temptation, repentance and social redemption. According to Wiki (link above), Rossetti was working as a volunteer in a charity house and her interactions with former p
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Christina "When I Am Dead My Dearest Sing No Sad Songs For Me" Rossetti was born in London on 5 December 1830. Four days from now, or on 29 December 2013, it'll be her 129th death anniversary.

Like Kate Chopin whose short stories I've been reading, Christina Rossetti was probably a very horny woman but whose sexuality was repressed because of the social milieu she lived in. She was also deeply pious, as she called off two engagements to two different men on religious grounds.

Like Chopin, however
...more
Gloria Mundi
What a peculiar story this is. Laura and Lizzie are two sisters who go to fetch some water every day and on their way they hear the cries of the goblin men selling all manner of luscious exotic fruit:

Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather


Wise Lizzie keeps
...more
Suvi
Mouth-wateringly beautiful (as are the illustrations by Arthur Rackham), the verses aren't drowned in overly obscure metaphors, but they form a crisp narrative allegory about temptation and whatnot. Magical and subtle enough that it's suitable for children, but no adult can ignore the sensuality (juice sucking and so on). Laura is taken advantage of, and the hideous goblins are not interested in already spoiled maidens (and when their advances are rebuffed, they become furious and abusive), but ...more
Jon
I hadn't read this poem in at least 10 years, but when I woke up at 3am last night and couldn't get back to sleep, I took it off the shelf. What a strange poem--so simple and yet so elusive. You pretty much get what she's driving at, but whenever you try to nail it down, the nails turn to water. Or in this case maybe the juice of luscious pomegranates. The perceptive afterword in this edition by Joyce Carol Oates pretty much summarizes all the poem's ambiguities, and its limitations which are so ...more
Thomas
A poem about two sisters who face the temptation of goblin men and how they overcome desire together. Christina Rossetti tackles so many topics in this work, ranging from the strength of sisterhood to the inevitability of sin to the idea of female sexuality within the Victorian era. "Goblin Market" is more than it seems to be, in every sense, because it is not just a cautionary tale for young girls about sex. It is not just a Rossetti's foray into lesbianism and morality. Instead, several elemen ...more
Stasha
I fell in love with the Pre-Raphaelites in college. Christina Rossetti was an enigma. Praised for her Christian virtue and religious writings, Goblin Market broke from her tradition. Seen as vaguely pornographic and shockingly aberrant from the "women always suffer" stories of Adam and Eve, Pandora and other curious women, Lizzie and Laura survive to achieve the Victorian ideal of children of their own.

It shocked the time that Lizzie stood her ground against men and won, she saved her sister by
...more
Lynn Beyrouthy
Christina Rossetti, one of the most notable female poets of the Victorian era, was known for her excessive religious devotion and chastity (She rejected suitors and remained unmarried). One would be shocked to read a poem containing so much erotic potential written by an apparently so virtuous and virginal woman.
Incest, oral sex and gang rape are all implicitly referenced but never explicitly mentioned. So let's be fair, this poem is a fairytale, it was meant to be a children's book (and God do
...more
Alex
I do get around to almost every book recommended to me. It might take me a year, but I will get there. So, thanks El! This poem was a ton of fun! I especially liked the part where the nubile young woman sucks nectar off her sister's neck. I was all, "Aw yeah! High five!" But I was alone, so I had to high five myself. It's less depressing than it sounds. No it's not.

It's a weird, wicked poem. The meter and rhyme scheme are schizophrenic; I tried to track it for a while, but you actually can't. Ro
...more
Sara
During my final English sequence class in college. I wrote my final paper on two of Christina Rossetti's poems, though I put more focus on "Goblin Market" than I did with her shorter poem "A Triad."

Goblin Market fascinated me for obvious reasons. It is a beautiful poem, lyrical in the words and descriptive to the point where it provides the mind of the reader with the most clear and beautiful pictures to portray each and every scene. Still, as an English major I was required to look beyond the
...more
David
Rossetti's lyric/epic of entwined female protagonists is a triumph of insistent rhythms and distaff imagery. The tropes proliferate as lushly as the beckoning goblin fruit "sweet to tongue and sound to eye"--for both maidens and readers. Like ripples reverberating from a core of metaphor, a "gleaming neck" is not only a "rush-imbedded swan" but also "a lily from the beck","a moonlit poplar branch", and "a vessel at the launch / When its last restraint is gone." Not to be outdone, here's the quic ...more
Billierosie Billierosie

Goblin Market, is a poem by Christina Rossetti. It was published 1862. It is a fairy- tale which has been subjected to many interpretations, some seeing it as religious allegory, others see it as sexual symbolism; it tells the story of two sisters, tempted by goblins with forbidden fruit.

To me, the poem is sumptuous with erotic menace and it is the erotica that I shall be concentrating on! (No surprises there then!)

The story narrated in "Goblin Market" is simple. Two sisters, Laura and Lizzie,
...more
Althea Ann
Another classic that I hadn't read for many, many years. While generally I appreciate authors who are loath to have their work read as allegory, this is too clear to be denied. The message I get out of this? "While men may be very tempting, it's generally safer to have sex with other women before marriage (Although the men won't think much of that plan)."
haripriya
Come, sample..come, sample a sensual piece of Pre-Raphaelite fantasy fiction of the sweet-juice-drippings-from-a-luscious-full-and-fine-pomegranate variety. Written in the form of a narrative poem,it revolves around two sisters -Lizzie with an open heart, Laura in an absent dream, One content, one sick in part;/One warbling for the mere bright day's delight/One longing for the night.
They are tempted by insidious goblin merchants who seduce the maidens with sumptuous fruits, perhaps an allusion t
...more
Kaethe
I'm not sure I understand it.

It's a simple story: Two sisters, Lizzie and Laura, and Laura is tempted to try the delicious fruits sole by the goblin-men who are animal-like. In exchange for a lock of her hair the goblin men give her all the most delicious fruits, quite a long list, and she eats, but thereafter falls into a decline. She longs for more such fruit, but doesn't hear the goblin-men any more. Then Lizzie, fearing that her sister is soon to die, goes to the goblin-men, and offers them
...more
Mona Anvari
i haven't read that many English poetry before this, maybe a little Shakespeare here and there but i have no point of reference, if i have to compare this to Persian poetry i admire so much, i have to say it lacks the subtleties and the consistent structure but perhaps i am wrong in doing so! it was beautiful and i am really happy i read it is all i can say.

"Good folk," said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie,
"Give me much and many"; --
Held out her apron,
Tossed them her penny.
"Nay, take a seat with us,
Hon
...more
Izzy
Just such an awesome poem. It was a favourite of my old English teacher and I was so glad I read it. It reads like a musical story and is so rich in detail. It's heavily influenced a lot of the faery based fiction books of today. It's one of them catchy poems that I find myself randomly quoting to myself from time to time--despite being so long.
Jo
So I don't like poetry, but I needed a poem to write a paper about so I picked up Goblin Market. I absolutely loved it (not enough to make me say I love poetry)! I especially enjoyed Joyce Carol Oates's comments at the end. Such an intricate and thought provoking read.
Rebecca
Used to read this in secret as a child. My copy had Arthur Rackham illustrations.

*flaunts*

*covets symbolic fruit*
Patricia
Beautifully written poem that deals with the subject of purity and temptation in the Victorian era.
In my opinion this poem is a slight parallel of Eve and her fall from grace when she was tempted by the snake. Purity was an important virtue during the 1800s, so the fruit (instead of representing knowledge) represents sex and being tempted by passion. Once someone tastes the fruit, this person is doomed to a life of misery as a form of punishment for not being able to restrain their urges. In a
...more
Cassie
This is a Victorian poem with allusions to many different topics.

It is about temptation and sisterly love. It is about sacrificial love.

The fruit has similar background to "Adam and Eve" like in Milton's Paradise Lost. A book highly revered during the time that Rossetti wrote The Goblin Market. Especially in the religious intellectual groups that Rossetti and her brother traveled and worked in.

It is about sisterly sacrifice. Lizzie is willing to do something she considers morally wrong for the
...more
Nihan
Okuduğum en tuhaf şiirlerden biriydi, yazarın yeteneği belli ama bana ters gelen bir konusu vardı. Biraz garipte buldum o neydi yahu...

Konuya gelirsem; altın saçlı iki kız kardeşin öyküsü. Lizzie ve Laura her akşam çıktıkları gezintilerde cinlerin seslerini duyarlar. Birbirinden lezzetli meyveler satıyordur bu cinler. Fakat kardeşlerin satın almayı bırak onlara bakması bile yasaktır. Kadınların erkeklerin dünyasındaki geri kalmışlığına dikkat çekiyor burada yazar.

Yasak elmanın cazibesi misali ka
...more
Drew
On the inside cover of my copy of this unforgettable fable, it states "For children, the story offers a captivating adventure..." But only a pervert would read "Goblin Market" to a kid. The first half of the poem culminates in a metaphorical orgy between a young maiden and some freaky-faced goblins; the second half builds to the metaphorical rape of her sister by same. The coda? A little lesbian incest. Sweet dreams, little ones! (Which isn't to say I didn't love it because I did.)
Shawn
Charming little poem from the Victorian age. A fantastic tale of two sisters, one of whom is tempted to buy the fruits sold the Goblins at the market. Lizzie goes astray, led away by temptation, to taste the forbidden fruits. She becomes sick, feverish, delirious, but is nursed back to health by her sister. A little morality poem about yielding to the temptations of the flesh, of being manipulated by lascivious men intent on stealing the virtue of a pure maiden.
Rachael Bundy
LOVED this! It's a short, VERY dark, illustrated poem about two "sisters" ("sisters" is in quotes only because there is so much sexual tension between them that I think they either aren't actually sisters or perhaps have a mildly incestuous relationship...I could be reading into this more than I should though) who are tempted by evil goblin-men. I recommend reading it if you're into gothic literature.
Emily
I love this poem. The goblin men always make me sad, constructed as monstrous because of the danger that lay in sexual temptation for women in this period. But, I love the relationship between the sisters, and I love that Lizzie goes down to face the goblin men, and temptation, to save her sister. It is, of course, a narrative of self denial and self sacrifice. But it is also a story about the strength of the relationship between two women, not one of competition, or destruction, but one of love ...more
Lora
The Goblin Market is a poem about two sisters and their encounter with the dark market of the wicked goblins. One sister is tempted, and lured away, and she nearly dies in a vampiric victim kind of way. But her sister resists the call of the goblins, resists their fruits, and performs the role of innocent savior to the release of her sister from her lingering curse. It's a long poem, which I almost didn't read because my attention span and long poems go together about like sparrows and peanut bu ...more
Ksania Katzman (Shzuplik)
Oh My ! was totally not expecting this , it even made me blush .
Illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti , this poem about sisterly love - is just insane , perhaps it was meant for children , but it surely features some adult content as well. It blew my mind , it surprised me - it is great art.
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Christina Georgina Rossetti, one of the most important women poets writing in nineteenth-century England, was born in London December 5, 1830, to Gabriele and Frances (Polidori) Rossetti. Although her fundamentally religious temperament was closer to her mother's, this youngest member of a remarkable family of poets, artists, and critics inherited many of her artistic tendencies from her father.

J
...more
More about Christina Rossetti...
Goblin Market and Other Poems The Complete Poems Poems of Christina Rossetti Selected Poems of Christina Rossetti (Wordsworth Poetry Library) Rossetti: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

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“Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other's wings,
They lay down in their curtained bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall'n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipped with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gazed in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapped to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Locked together in one nest.”
4 likes
“For there is no friend like a sister In calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, To fetch one if one goes astray, To lift one if one totters down, To strengthen whilst one stands.” 2 likes
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