Review

The deceptive elegance of Rossetti

By James Antoniou
July 3 2020 - 2:00pm
  • Christina Rossetti: New Selected Poems, edited by Rachel Mann. Carcanet. $28.
The works of Christina Rossetti continue to inspire and fascinate, more than a century after her death. Picture: Getty Images

No selection of Christina Rossetti's verse could omit "Goblin Market" (1862), surely one of the strangest, most imaginative English Victorian poems. A modern epyllion, it follows sisters Laura and Lizzie, tempted by goblin men into tasting their enchanted wares. Paying with a lock of her hair, Laura succumbs and gorges on fruit that proves "like honey to the throat / But poison in the blood". When later she discovers that she cannot eat it twice and starts to wither away, her sister sets out to rescue her by obtaining the fruit's juices without drinking a single drop herself.

Advertisement

Ad

Advertisement

Ad