English Lecture “Goblin Market” February 15, 2011
“Goblin Market” by Christina Rosetti
Rite of Passage (nite de passage)
St. Mary Magdalene Home For Fallen Women
Mary and Engels, Das Kapital (1867)
“That’s how [Claudia Schiffer] made her fortune… she sold her body like I sell mine” -
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- can be seen as a fairy tale
- can be seen as a coming of age, moral tale for children
- can be read as a religious allegory
- remake of Paradise Lost, the fall
- can be read as autobiographical
- this is a poem about Christina’s flirtation with a married man and being saved
- can be read as an erotic fantasy (Victorian women were terribly oppressed)
- l. 485 (lesbian fantasy)
- can be read as a pro-feminist sisterhood, which excludes ‘goblin men’ from this circle
- Is there a reading that can deal with all the different elements?
- There is, takes into account the social and personal context in which it was
- Social Context
- 19th c. London where Rosetti lived, was full of prostitutes. Up to 20 000
brothels in London.
- Concerned the author because when she was writing Goblin Market she was
working as a lay sister at the “St. Mary Magdalene Home for Fallen Women” or
- She helped prostitutes enter normal life to have with children, families,
- Prostitutes entered this trade at 14, left at 19.
- She was rescuing fallen women, reintegrating that woman into society.
- What she was doing was controversial. People said it was impossible for a
pure, innocent, middle class woman to consort with prostitutes without
being contaminated by them. Only women could deal with this problem,
men were incapable because the social consequences of them dealing
with it would be immense.
- The person who led the march against prostitutes was Florence
Nightingale, mother of nursing. English Lecture “Goblin Market” February 15, 2011
- Her illustration in the text confirms her view: it was possible for one woman to consort
with a prostitute. He shows them together like two blossoms on one stem, to argue what
Rosetti is arguing.
- Rosetti is using fairytale elements as a way of dealing with prostitution and dealing
with fallen women. Goblins serve as figures who tempt these young women into falling,
and the other one rescues her.
- Makes Lizzie a type of Anglican sister, and Laura