Goblin Market is a narrative poem by British Victorian poet Christina Rossetti, originally published in 1862. Simply put, it tells the story of a girl who eats forbidden fruit (sold by "goblin men") and suffers as a result, until her sister comes to her aid. It can be read "straight" as a poetic fairy tale or fantasy narrative, but it is often read as an allegory. Interpretations vary widely as to just what the allegory means, though. Is the poem about the dangers of sexuality? Of heteronormativity? The power of sisterhood? Good and bad systems of economy? Temptation, sin and redemption? The possibility of redemption for "fallen women"? Or maybe all of the above? Fortunately, you can read the poem without having to choose an interpretation. It makes heavy use of alliteration, musical rhyme, and mouth-watering detail. It's the sort of poem that benefits from being read aloud.Those with an interest in art history might be familiar with the Rossetti name in a different context, because of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB). Christina was not a member of this all-male group, but two of her brothers were founding members. Some of her earliest work was published in the PRB's periodical, and her work shares some traits (such as attention to sensual detail) with the art of the PRB. Dante Gabriel Rossetti provided illustrations for the poem.Goblin Market was adapted into a musical by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon. Some of the songs can be found on Youtube.You can read the poem here; this page includes D.G. Rossetti's illustrations.
This poem provides examples of: