London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1933. Item #02510
The Copy of Poet Percy MacKaye
With an Original Drawing by Rackham
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. ROSSETTI, Christina. Goblin Market. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd. .
First trade edition, with a fine, three-quarter page original pen & ink drawing by Rackham inscribed to Mr. & Mrs. Percy MacKaye and dated Christmas 1937. The drawing depicts Mr. Rackham himself as an anthropomorphic tree.
Octavo (8 3/4 x 5 1/2 in; 222 x 136 mm). 42,  pp. Four color plates.
Original stiff-card wrappers in color. Original dust jacket with just a tiny amount of insect damage at foot of spine and flap-folds. A near fine copy.
American dramatist and poet Percy MacKaye (1875-1956), whose poetry collection, The Far Familiar (1938) was graced with a frontispiece by Arthur Rackham, was the first champion of civic theater and is considered to be the first poet of the Atomic Era because of his sonnet "The Atomic Law," which was published in the Christmas 1945 issue of The Churchman.
Goblin Market (composed in April 1859 and published in 1862) is a narrative poem by Christina Rossetti. In a letter to her publisher, Rossetti claimed that the poem, which is interpreted frequently as having features of remarkably sexual imagery, was not meant for children. However, in public Rossetti often stated that the poem was intended for children, and went on to write many children's poems. When the poem appeared in her first volume of poetry, Goblin Market and Other Poems, it was illustrated by her brother, the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Goblin Market is about two close young sisters, Laura and Lizzie, who hear the sounds of the goblin fruit market from their house where they reside by themselves. At first they try to ignore the enticing calls of the goblin men but eventually Laura decides to go out and see what's happening. Lizzie warns her not to, but Laura is too curious. The goblin men offer her their fruit, and Laura thinks it looks tasty. She doesn't have any money, but the goblins offer to take a piece of her golden hair instead. So Laura gives up some of her hair, gorges herself on goblin fruit, and heads on home to her sister.
But after eating all that goblin fruit, Laura starts to waste away. Lizzie gets worried and decides to go down to the market to see what's what. The goblin men try to tempt her the way they tempted Laura, but Lizzie stands firm. The goblin men turn violent and try to stuff fruit in Lizzie's mouth, but she squeezes her mouth shut, so they just end up getting juice all over her. Lizzie runs back to their house all covered in goblin fruit juice. Laura kisses the juice off her sister's cheeks and is miraculously, but painfully, healed.
Years later, Laura and Lizzie are both wives and mothers, and they describe their experience in the goblin market to their own children as a cautionary tale about the importance of sisterly love.
Riall, p. 179. Latimore and Haskell, p. 69.