Goblin Market and Other Poems Published

Goblin Market is a Victorian narrative poem written by Christina Rossetti and illustrated by her brother Dante Gabriel. Rossetti felt that the collaboration with her brother was crucial to her overall work, that she deliberately delayed the publication until Dante Garbiel’s illustrations were ready for press. He designed a total of two illustrations, the frontispiece and title page, for The Goblin Market. Both images were pressed using wood engravings, evoking the pre-raphaelite designs popular during the 1860’s. The passages appeal to the senses through vivid descriptions of colours, textures, aromas and taste. Critics assigned the poem to various general categories over the following decades and throughout the twentieth century. It was first viewed as a fairytale but was later viewed as an allegorical piece. Feminist critics often analyzed the poem’s social commentary on gender relations and the relationship between two sisters. Later in the nineteenth century, readers, reviewers, illustrators, and composers began to focus on the poem’s powerful aesthetic qualities. Its sensuous patterns, religious images, and social implications inspired the focus of school studies and as well as musical settings and performances. The power of its visual images, and the two wood-engraved designs by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the poem’s first publication, turned to evoke numerous artistic interpretations, ranging from stained glass windows to gift books.

Curated by Kisha Rendon, Joseph Pereira, and Payton Flood

Public Domain; source: COVE Goblin Market edition by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Antony Harrison

Associated Place(s)