SIMON HUMPHRIES ome of the most persuasive recent readings of Goblin Market have been those which renew that critical tradition in which this poem--in which Christina Rossetti's work as a whole--is to be understood ultimately in religious terms. Such readings have often incorporated insights from critics who have focused on gender or on sexuality; but, at their strongest, they have been sure enough of their ground to know where they are irreconcilable with readings which have a primarily secular focus. It seems that there does come a point at which not every explanation of what happens in Goblin Market can be defensible.1 This essay subscribes to the position that readings of Rossetti's work must make sure of their religious ground; yet it does so while maintaining that this religious ground is itself much less sure than is generally supposed. To maintain this is, of course, to risk overstatement--for the criticism which insists on the centrality of religious ideas to Rossetti's work does not form a monolithic corpus. Nevertheless, much of it shares a disinclination to consider the possibility that these religious ideas could themselves be conflicting. It is as if a consistent theological system is tacitly posited and
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jan 3, 2008
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