The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit: Victorian Iconoclast, Children’s Author, and Creator of The Railway Children

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Born in 1858 and stylishly Bohemian generations earlier than most, E. Nesbit, was a wondrous mixture of unconventional defiance, accepting cuckold, benefactor of disadvantaged children, and earth mother: to say nothing of being a prolific writer. The pages delve into the contradictory facets of her personality. Her disdain for women’s suffrage, her almost obsessive adherence to political Socialism are drawn disarmingly.

The memoir, exceedingly long and detailed, presents an author whose writing brought widespread popularity and still reads well today though disappointingly absent from many library shelves.

In The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit, Eleanor Fitzsimons reveals ‘Daisy’s’ unexpected lifestyle, seamier than those usually assumed in the post-Victorian years. It is a saga of friendships, flirtations, and grindingly hard work to keep body and soul together. Through all the upheavals, her husband fathering children of her friends and Edith raising them as her own, she wrote herself into her children’s books, The Railway Children, The Treasure Seekers and other lasting favorites.

Fitzsimons’ lengthy quotes by and about Nesbit become prolix but one feels compelled to read them, the brief biographies that could be briefer of the literati of the period whom she knew well, among them George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Kipling. The journey to Antibes in the south of France for a holiday with family and close friends is a memorable sequence, likewise the description of her learning about true poverty among young school children and her paean to their teachers. Eleanor Fitzsimons’s tribute is both generous and unsparing.

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Author Eleanor Fitzsimons
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Abrams Press
Publish Date 2019-10-08
ISBN 9781419738975 Buy this Book
Issue November 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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