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General Vic Era Discussions > Victorian Children's Literature

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula | 1051 comments By request of a few members in the 'Your first time,..' thread, here is a discussion spot for children's lit from the Victorian era. Just thinking of some of these books makes me smile :) Enjoy!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments It may have been A Child's Garden of Verses; I read it so young I didn't actually read it - it was read to me.


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Andrew Lang's color Fairy Books were a staple of my childhood.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments I read several of the Lang books. The Green and Blue and Yellow, maybe? There were a lot of them.


message 5: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 38 comments Thinking back, one of the books I remember having read to me was The Jungle Books at least Mowgli's story by Rudyard Kipling.Then we had beautiful large format copies of Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I adored the Secret Garden - I was a bit of a difficult child as I had been ill and my father had died suddenly when I had just turned 6, so it was really meaningful to me that there were other children whose lives were unusual.


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 828 comments Has anyone ever read a short story by Oscar Wilde about a robin and a rose thorn? My dad used to tell me that story all the time as a child and I only recently found out that it was Oscar Wilde. It was the most beautiful, sad, uplifting story and I long to read it again.


message 7: by Susinok (new)

Susinok I read Heidi about a billion times when I grew up. I just recently learned that is is from the Victorian era. I'd never thought about it.

I also read the What Katy Did books.


message 8: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Aug 20, 2010 10:04AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments I loved The Light Princess, by George MacDonald, at about eight or so. Also The Magic Fishbone, which was my first Dickens.

Maybe we ought to have a "childrens" shelf?


message 9: by K. (new)

K. Everyman wrote: "Andrew Lang's color Fairy Books were a staple of my childhood."

Been buying Lang color-fairy books for my daughters--I haven't myself gotten but 1/2 through with the blue one, but so far they seem to be straight retellings w/out added in Vic morals. Just FYI. The little girl (8) seems to be enjoying them--I see her dipping into them every few days.


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 21, 2010 02:16AM) (new)

Boof wrote: "Has anyone ever read a short story by Oscar Wilde about a robin and a rose thorn? My dad used to tell me that story all the time as a child and I only recently found out that it was Oscar Wilde. It..."

Boof, I've read a tale entitled "The Nightingale and the Rose" belonging to the book The Happy Prince and other stories might it be the one you are searching? It's a really touching (and sad) story


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Susanna wrote: "I loved The Light Princess, by George MacDonald, at about eight or so."

Speaking of McDonald, I read the Princess and the Goblin when I was young and it absolutely terrified me.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments I loved that story as a child, and it still reads well, I think.


message 13: by Gricel (new)

Gricel (emperatrix) | 8 comments Anna wrote: "Woo Hoo!!! As an avid reader of children's and YA lit in all eras I'm very happy to have this thread. Thanks Paula.

I'd like to hear about people's favorite Victorian children's book. Is is poetry..."


A Little Princess and The Secret Garden were two of my earliest Victorian reads and remain two of my favorites :). I've been meaning to re-read them for a while.


message 14: by Gricel (new)

Gricel (emperatrix) | 8 comments Everyman wrote: "Susanna wrote: "I loved The Light Princess, by George MacDonald, at about eight or so."

Speaking of McDonald, I read the Princess and the Goblin when I was young and it absolutely terrified me."


I started the Princess and the Goblin last year, but had to put it aside between one thing and another... I really need to get back to it.


message 15: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 My brother and I went to the library weekly and borrowed as many books as they allowed. The Secret Garden, which I re-read as an adult when PBS did it. I remember Little Women and all the color Fairy Books, The Arabian Nights and probably lots more that I didn't know were Victorian. I loved stories with fairies.

Does Listopia have a separate list for Victorian children's books? There are hundreds of overlapping lists.


message 16: by Lushbug (last edited Sep 15, 2010 12:01PM) (new)

Lushbug I remember reading a little princess and loving it tho was shocked at the ending which was very different from the book. love rags to riches stories where the heroine triumphs over the nasty villain! love the simpicity of the stories. Also loved the secret garden...i longed to find a garden of my own when i was child after reading this. Something that i could nurture and bring back to life and was all mine


message 17: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 15, 2010 12:11PM) (new)

Linda2 Some of the greatest illustrators worked on Victorian children's books: Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, Walter Crane, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Maxfield Parrish, Tenniel.

I have lately rediscovered duLac, and I've started saving his prints, unfortunately not in the flesh, but on my computer. I esp. love his Arabian Nights and Rubaiyat illustrations.

http://xrl.in/6cnr
http://allday.ru/index.php?newsid=92770 (Just ignore the ads on the sides. LOL.)


message 18: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 15, 2010 12:53PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments There's a list for Victorian YA (actually neovictorians), but I don't see one for Victorian children's books.

We could add one; it's easy enough. In fact, I think I'll go do that now. Here it is: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/69... .


message 19: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 15, 2010 02:10PM) (new)

Linda2 You cheated! They're from your own list. LOL. :)

We can combine YA and children's, because the line is murky at a certain age. Here are some online, but I leave it you to look for the links at GR.

http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/chi...

I just remembered Kipling's Just So Stories, which still gives me great pleasure in the recording by Jack Nicholson with Bobby McFerrin doing the sound effects.

What's NeoVictorian--books written now taking place in the Victorian period?


message 20: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 15, 2010 02:23PM) (new)

Linda2 I'm relatively new here. If I'm at the Listopia page, how would I look for the original list of Victorian Children's, other than in your profile? I see only Children's on the right. If I type it into Keywords, I get everything with the word "Victorian" in it too, on 654 pages. "Children" gives me 338 pages.


message 21: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 15, 2010 02:35PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments Yes, that's Neo-Victorian. Adult ones would be Possession, for example - a novel about two (fictional) Victorian poets.

At "All Lists," (link to All Lists is on all Listopia lists, at the top of the page) I would do a search for Victorian, over at the right side - where it says "enter a tag" - that just gives you the lists that have been "tagged" as Victorian, about 15 of them or so.

Keywords is good if you remember the exact name of the list; tags is better if you just remember what the list was about.

ETA: Of course the ones on the list are the ones from my list; I'm the only person who's voted on it yet! Generally I only vote for books I've read. LOL


message 22: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Not the same, shouldn't be included. That would open the door to including any historical novel in the period taking place.


message 23: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 15, 2010 02:37PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments No, that's why I didn't put any neo-Victorians on my list. Or Just-So Stories, as it is just outside the period (1902! Can't get any closer!).

At any rate, I believe there's already a list for the neo-Victorians.


message 24: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 17, 2010 02:48PM) (new)

Linda2 Weeeeeeeeeell, Kipling started writing them down in 1901, and because Edward was so obese, it took him a long time to get on the throne, because they had to build a wide one for him...


message 25: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 20, 2010 02:36PM) (new)

Linda2 I was just thinking about Victorian children's books vs. YA books. The children's books were preachy, and I don't think many are still being read, aside from Beatrix Potter. The best of the YA books are still popular, although the "lesson" is still there, but they don't hit you over the head.


message 26: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 20, 2010 01:07PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments Well, there's Alice in Wonderland...

But yes, the children's literature of the period does tend rather towards the preachy.


message 27: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 20, 2010 02:39PM) (new)

Linda2 Alice is subversive because Carroll, like Hardy, marched to his own drummer. Alice herself is a prig, but everyone around her breaks all the rules.


message 29: by Linda2 (last edited Sep 20, 2010 03:34PM) (new)

Linda2 I think it would be fun to read Alice with the group. I haven't read it in many years. I think a lot of the inside jokes were lost on us as kids, the political references, etc.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments I recommend The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition for a lot of stuff on what he was parodying and the "inside" stuff.

It's similar with Gulliver's Travels, which was written for adults, and is full of political satire, but is read by children these days. Who don't get the political stuff, of course!


message 31: by Annette (new)

Annette Hart | 17 comments Do I take it that E. Nesbit is too late?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 628 comments Some E. Nesbit is Victorian (she started writing in the 1880s, which surprised me); most of the E. Nesbit I read growing up was Edwardian, though (The Railway Children, for example).


message 33: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 46 comments I remember enjoying Alice in Wonderland as a child, though I was disappointed it turned out to be a dream. ALso little Lord Fauntleroy (I had greatly enjoyed The Secret Garden and A Little a princess, Burnett's Edwardian books), Black Beauty, What Katy Did, and Little Women Part I (which is published as a seperate book in the UK).


message 34: by Beth (new)

Beth | 12 comments The first book I remembered being read to was Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders, 1894. It was like a dog version of Black Beauty. Also, The Jungle Book and both Alice books. Heidi and Wind in the Willows.


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Does the Canadian version of Anne of Green Gables count? My mother and I also read the books together. I think I was 8 or 10


message 36: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 46 comments Brittany wrote: "Does the Canadian version of Anne of Green Gables count? My mother and I also read the books together. I think I was 8 or 10"

PUblished in 1908, so not Victorian, but then neither is The Secret Garden, which is also often mentioned on here. I am not sure how flexible they are on dates.


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments I always think Black Beauty is Edwardian, but date wise, it’s not. I remember reading that too.
I think the Secret Garden definitely feels more Victorian than Edwardian, if that makes sense.


message 38: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 186 comments The Little Lame Prince by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik was very popular in Victorian times. She wrote many other books for children and adult readers.


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Oh yes! I’d forgotten about that one.


message 40: by Bruce (new)

Bruce I read The Happy Prince and Other Tales a couple months ago. One of the most beautiful short story collections I ever read. It’s a children’s collection, in a sense, although most of the stories are sad. Oscar Wilde, in my opinion, is one of the few writers who comes close to Shakespeare in terms of his way with words, although there are other great story tellers.


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