During intriguing than her directly religious poems.

During
the time of publication, Rossetti’s vast assortment of poems were recognised
with much success as Rossetti became established as the foremost female poet of
the time after the death of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1861. Of the many
published works, Goblin Market and Other
Poems remains as her most famous collection yet, whilst receiving much
critical praise during the time of its publication, it has continued to receive
an abundance of critiques and interpretations.

The
Pre-Raphaelite movement begun in 1848 through three individuals: William Holman
Hurt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti who claimed that the
quality of art had deteriorated during the High Renaissance as contemporaries
favoured artificial compositions and poses over the intense realism and natural
influence which is reflected in Italian Art in the early Italian Renaissance.
This movement aimed to unite English painters, poets, and critics and declared
that Pre-Raphaelite artists must have “genuine
ideas to express; study nature attentively, so as to know how to express it;
sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to
the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parodying and learned by rote;
most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues”.
The Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics is integrated in some of Christina Rossetti’s
poem, including Goblin Market in which her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti
contributed his own illustrations of “Goblin Market”. Christina Rossetti’s
poetry adheres to the ideals of the movement but was never an official member
of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. The emphasis on expression through nature is
evident in poems such as ‘Shut Out’ which intertwines natural imagery with
desire:

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“‘Or give me, then,
But one small twig from shrub or tree;
And bid my home remember me
Until I come to it again.'”

Despite
the split in pre-Raphaelite sources of inspiration between Medievalism and
Realism, Rossetti’s poetry reflects the Anglo-Catholic beliefs, although some
poems, such as Soeur Louis which have a direct link to religion, many of
Rossetti’s love poetry explore a more topical space whilst still maintaining
the religious undertone despite keeping her works characteristically restrained
and simple which allows multitudes of critiques and interpretations which may
arguably make some of her love poems more intriguing than her directly
religious poems.

Tractarianism was an affiliation of the High
Church Anglicans who wanted to re-invigorate the church by aligning it with the
model of the Church created in the first few centuries following the Christ’s
crucifixion. The first Anglican convent since the Reformation was established
in 1845 and this was also the place in which Rossetti worshipped each week.
Since they were prohibited from entering full time ministry in the Church, many
19th Century women wished to devote their entire lives to God in
different mannerisms thus choosing to become nuns as many roles in the church
were denied to them due to their gender, becoming a nun was one of the ways in
which a woman could remain single, serve the community and belong to a larger,
positive and affirming female network. The emphasis on sisterhood is presented
through Lizzie and Laura in Goblin Market
in which the themes of women and sin are prevalent. In Goblin Market, there’s a
lack of male characters which may be a direct reference to the lack of men in
the Anglican nunnery which further emphasises the importance of sisterhood and
the relationship between Lizzie and Laura. The poem was written in 1859 whilst
Rossetti was volunteering at the St Mary Magdalene Penitentiary for ‘fallen
women’ dedicated to the reform and rehabilitation of prostitutes so that women
who had transgressed