Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Goblin Market” as Want to Read:
Goblin Market
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Goblin Market

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  9,931 ratings  ·  327 reviews
Experience the temptation, pleasure, punishment, and redemption of Christina Rossetti's brilliant poetic masterpiece in this classic keepsake edition, gorgeously illustrated with Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Christina's brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Published in 1862, this phantasmagoric tale of two maidens seduced by lewd goblin men provides a startling glimpse into the ...more
Hardcover, 70 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Chronicle Books (CA) (first published 1862)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Goblin Market, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,931 ratings  ·  327 reviews

Sort order
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Who would ever have dared to guess that 'fruit talk' could be so very suggestive of so many varied things! Wow!

One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail, (c)
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen 145
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers 150
Pluck’d from bow
Candace Robinson
Okay, so I never read poetry because I really don't understand it half the time, and it rarely makes sense to me! I have been hearing a lot about this poem and wanted to scope it out. Thank goodness it read like a story! It was enchanting and dark and I loved it!!! Review on my blog
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 10, 2014 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
Dannii Elle
Goblin Market is one of the most, in turns, enchanting, horrifying, beautiful, and fantastical pieces I have ever read!

Goblin Market - 5/5 stars
Dream Land - 4.5/5 stars
Song - 5/5 stars
An End - 4.5/5 stars
A Pause of Thought - 3/5 stars
Sweet Death - 4/5 stars
A Birthday - 3/5 stars
Babylon the Great - 5/5 stars
On Keats - 5/5 stars
In an Artist’s Studio - 5/5 stars
The Queen of Hearts - 4.5/5 stars
A Christmas Carol - 5/5 stars
An Old-World Thicket - 3/5 stars
Spring Quiet - 3.5/5 stars
Up-Hill - 4/5 stars
Liz Janet
Dec 20, 2015 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
Apr 26, 2015 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
Dhanaraj Rajan
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a short book of just 55 pages.

But they contain some of Christina Rossetti's best poems (just 20 of them).

Though they are only 20, yet they are full of varieties (Long poems-short poems; allusions-direct poems; poems for adults-poems for children; on death-on birth; religious-secular).

Except for few, I loved all of them. I am to blame for the ones that did not appeal to me. May be in a later reading they would reveal themselves to me. I read almost all of them loud in my room and they are
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
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
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
"We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?"

Enchanting and unsettling, Goblin Market is one of my favorite narrative poems. Today I sat down and read a copy I picked up that came with 1893 illustrations (my paperback was printed in the 1980s to be clear). For a mid-nineteenth century poem about two sisters, Goblin Market is surprisingly engaging and a quick read. Two sisters, Lizzie and Laura, are tempted into a otherw
"Foul is she and ill-favoroured, set askew:
Gaze not upon her till thou dream her fair,
Lest she should mesh thee in her wanton hair."

- Christina Rossetti, 'Babylon the Great'


Vol N° 53 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains 20 of Christina Rossetti's poems. The largest being the Goblin Market. Reading these to my wife last night, I was amazed at how provocative some of her verse was. I haven't read much Rossetti outside of poetry collections (and that was only in HS a
☆★Tinja★✮ A Court of Pizza and Laziness
Found the audio on Youtube and thought why the hell not. I adore everything fae.

I don't do poems but maybe I should. It was pretty gorgeous although quite disturbing.
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
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-classic
Christina Rossetti has to be one of the most depressing poets I have ever come across BUT this is not to say that I didn't enjoy her poems. On the contrary I found them to be really moving :)
Goblin Market itself was my favourite poem out of this collection and I can see why the Penguin chose to title the book after it. It is a story of addiction, bad descisions, courage and eventually redemption.
Other poems in the collection and very good but not (for me at least) as mentally (visually) poignant
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really trying to make #Victober work, you guys, but Victorians just wrote the shittiest poetry of them all. I honestly can't take this shit seriously, let alone enjoy it. Goblin Market is one of the worst and most meaningless poetry collections I've ever read, and that is saying something coming from a girl who read Milk and Honey.

The titular poem is structured like a narrative, it takes up half of the collection and tells the story of two sisters who are consecutively corrupted by men in t
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Althea Ann
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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)."
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And all winds go sighing
For sweet things dying.
(A Dirge)

This collection of Christina Rossetti's poems was most enlightening.

Favourite poems: Goblin Market (page 1), Dream Land (page 21), Song (page 23), An End (page 24), A Birthday (page 27)
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-music
Published in 1862, the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti tells the story of young sisters, Lizzie and Laura and their interactions with the river goblins.
Laura makes an exchange for fruit with goblins even though she has no money. She trades a lock of her hair and a tear for some of their fruit and then devours it quickly before she gets home to her sister.
Lizzie worries that Laura will suffer the same fate as another girl who consumed the fruit and died.
Instead of revealing the entire
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 13, 2013 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
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Goblin Market is a wonderfully interesting poem which can be interpreted widely and openly into various themes and meanings. Through the various sexual undertones rippling through the verses, I read of the dangers of temptation, addiction, and of women giving themselves to men. Depicting men as goblins, Rossetti paints a clear picture of untrustworthiness and cunning. She allows us to understand that the goblins are merely looking to use the girls, and are employing a smoke and mirror effect wit ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, reviewed
I love this poem so much. First time I heard it was when my Mother read it aloud to us. At that age I was only thinking of how scary the goblins were. But now I look back on it, this is really a beautiful, poignant poem about the importance of sisterhood, sacrifice and love.

“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.”

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Lady of Shalott
  • Aurora Leigh
  • My Last Duchess and Other Poems
  • The Highwayman
  • A Shropshire Lad
  • The Eve of St. Agnes
  • Come Close
  • Anthem for Doomed Youth
  • The Complete Poems
  • Remember, Body...
  • Circe and the Cyclops
  • Il Duro
  • The Old Man of the Moon
  • The Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers
  • A Hippo Banquet
  • The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy
  • Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness
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.

“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.” 9 likes
More quotes…