Coining Counterfeit Culture: Christina Rossettiâ€™s <em>Goblin Market</em>
AbstractVictorian slang is endlessly fascinating, but no readings of Goblin Market have considered its use of slang. This article examines Goblin Market through nineteenth-century slang, specifically slang connected to money and counterfeiting. For example, the phrase â€˜Jimmy Oâ€™Goblinâ€™ is nineteenth-century rhyming slang for â€˜sovereignâ€™, or a sovereign coin, and â€˜figâ€™is slang for a mediocre counterfeit coin. Tracing elements of slang such as these situates Goblin Market in conversation with other counterfeiting narratives of the period. Published in the popular periodical Household Words, Dickensâ€™s â€˜Two Chapters on Bank Note Forgeriesâ€™ (1850) about the difficulties in identifying forged banknotes, and Sidney Laman Blanchardâ€™s â€˜A Biography of a Bad Shillingâ€™ (1851), a short story told from the perspective of counterfeit coin, conveyed mid-Victorian middle-class fascination with forgery. Goblin Market is different in that it focuses on middle-class anxiety. The poem relies on nineteenth-century slang, which has the ability to go undetected, in order to create a sublimated narrative about the perils of deceit. Looking at Goblin Market through its slang doubling reveals the hidden Victorian fears of counterfeiting and fraud, in the home and the marketplace.