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Goblin Market

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  7,392 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
This lovely gift edition of Christina Rossetti's most famous poem will enchant readers of all ages. For children, the story offers a captivating adventure into a land of fantasy. For adults, it's a lyric and sensual allegory of temptation, sacrifice, and salvation. Arthur Rackham, a peerless illustrator of fairy tales and supernatural creatures, portrays the poem's otherwo ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published September 16th 2010 by Dover Publications (first published 1862)
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank BaumDracula by Bram StokerPeter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
Pre-Tolkien Fantasy
52nd out of 226 books — 203 voters
Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellRebecca by Daphne du MaurierA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeOn the Beach by Nevil Shute
Hardback Books I Would Buy For My Own Library
33rd out of 212 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bookworm Sean
Now this was an interesting poem, and one that can be interpreted several ways. Personally, I took it as a suggestion that Victorian women should behave like ladies, and should resist the advance of men who only want them for sex. This makes the men wicked; thus, they were represented as Goblins. This effect was created through them trying to get the women to try their fruit at market, which was metaphorical for them trying to get women to taste their loins.

Morning and evening
Maids heard the Go
J.G. 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.
Apr 28, 2015 Cecily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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:

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
Liz BooksandStuff
Feb 14, 2016 Liz BooksandStuff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was read for the #readwomen month.
I am so glad that I bought the complete poetry of this woman because, if what I read is any indication, she will soon become one of my favourite poets of all time. The main poem in this book is called "Goblin Market," it is about the men that only wanted women as objects and for sex, it depicted them as Goblins, as they tried to get the women to taste their fruit. It is also strong on the theme of redemption, as a woman has tasted the "fruit" and regr
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
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
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. Rosetti has no intention of being consistent. That adds to the creepy feel of the poem, as you're constantly off balance
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
Lizzie and Laura explore the poetic beauty of nature and life, but Goblin-Men haunt the forest and the local town. They have infested friends with seductive fruit turned poison, to the death and sickness of others. They sell fruits the girls find hard to resist, and if they refuse a price becomes forced.

"They began to scratch their pates,
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling,
One called her proud,
Cross-grained, uncivil;
Their tones waxed loud,
Their looks were evil
May 11, 2015 G.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christina Rossetti wasn't on the school syllabus in the 1970s, nor the university syllabus in the 1980s either. I first read Rossetti in 1999, when friends asked me to read "A Birthday" at their wedding. The first and last lines:
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

This Penguin Little Black Classics edition provides a selection of Rossetti's work, including the funereal "Dream Land" ("Rest, rest, for ev
Mar 12, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with Christina Rossetti's poetry when I read "After Death". Although "Goblin Market" was an entirely different poem, I still like it. In fact, I've become even more desperate to scour the bookstores for any of her collection. I haven't really read much Victorian poets, but of the few that I've read lately, I prefer Rossetti most of all (I might have started out wrongly with Robert Browning; I should have read his more accessible works first). "Goblin Market" is along the vein of o ...more
Oct 31, 2014 Suvi rated it it was amazing
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
Some weird stuff happens in this poem. Not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified of it, and horrified. It's not everyday there is a poem about goblins haunting two women, making them buy their fruit, with thinly veiled innuendos about rape and sex.

Definitely interesting to study. But honestly one of the weirdest things I've read.
Maru Kun
Aug 31, 2016 Maru Kun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It says in Wikipedia:
Feminists held Rossetti as symbol of constrained female genius, placed as a leader of 19th-century poets. Her work strongly influenced the work of such writers as Ford Madox Ford, Virginia Woolf, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Jennings, and Philip Larkin. Critic Basil de Selincourt stated that she was "all but our greatest woman poet … incomparably our greatest craftswoman … probably in the first twelve of the masters of English verse"

Well, being the unreconstructed chau
Jun 09, 2015 Mosca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-be-re-read

Cristina Rossetti is the author of a number of favorite poems from my childhood. But "Goblin Market" is an adult poem with a serious sexual subtext. And my own feelings about this are very contradictory.

Victorian repression and sexual loathing--tangled with desire--permeate the poetry.

This image from the Wikipedia commons:


was the published image from the 1862 edition. It was done by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti; and it helps very much to clarify some of the
Jun 03, 2010 Stasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, horror
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
Mar 06, 2010 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
C.J. Cummings
I am a big fan of poetry, and with these new Penguin 80 Classic Editions it was a good way to pick up some old favourites and discover some new (old) tales and poems from various writers from the past. Christina Rossetti, I am familiar with, but not much. Most of the poems in this book were new to me, and I enjoyed a good amount of them. Goblin Market, a long poem that also gives the title to this little edition, is the best of the bunch. Dark, funny and strange, it was a joy to read. Many of th ...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,
Aug 09, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 28, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Althea Ann
Jan 26, 2014 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)."
Jan 02, 2016 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This remains one of my favorite pieces of literature. There are so many layers of subtle and not-so-subtle meaning. It's brilliant and vividly alive.
Mar 19, 2016 Cirtnecce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Penguin Edition of Rossetti’s works is a collection of the poet’s 20 poems, the most famous being The Goblin Market. The poem describes the coming of the Goblins to sell their wares – the most delicious and freshest of fruits apples, cranberries, peaches, apricots, pears, grapes, pomegranates etc. Two sisters, Laura and Lizzie who live together hear the coming of the Goblins; Laura is tempted by the descriptions of the fruits, but Lizzie cautions against going and purchasing the fruits from ...more
Aug 14, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This is a really short little book which I read as part of the Dewey's 24 Hr Readalong and I ended up reading this aloud as it's all poetry. I don't often go for poetry but I had already studied Christina Rosetti when in school and I actually like the Goblin Market poem quite a lot.

I did find that some of the poems within this were very similar or had very similar themes over all so that wasn't too original, but equally I did enjoy the more playful fun poems like Queen of Hearts which I would s
Jul 25, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Used to read this in secret as a child. My copy had Arthur Rackham illustrations.


*covets symbolic fruit*
Saoirse Sterling
Christina Rossetti, English poet of the Victorian Era.

Like most poetry, it has its moments. There were more good than bad, but the difference between them was sometimes startling. Goblins rule.
I should probably be a little more ashamed than I actually am to admit that, John Cooper Clarke aside, I've never really been very drawn to poetry. While this Little Black Classic was a bargain at just 80p, I can't say that it's succeeded in changing my mind.

I've been accused of being more than a little morbid in my time, but even I can't help but think that Christina Rosetti would have been a bit of a bummer to be around. Aside from the vague warnings on sex and sin that appear to make up the
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, sisters
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
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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.

More about Christina Rossetti...

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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.”
“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.” 8 likes
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