E.Nesbit: An Unconventional Victorian Woman

by Anna Blanch on July 24, 2009

Basic Facts

  • Edith Nesbit was born on 15 August 1848.
  • In her childhood she was always called Daisy.
  • Father died unexpectedly when she was 4 years of age.
  • Tumultuous childhood – numerous schools in England, France, and Germany.
  • Sister Mary very ill with tuberculosis (d. when EN was 16).
  • Married Hubert Bland in 1880 when 19, 7 months pregnant with Paul. After Bland’s death she married Skipper Tucker.
  • An inveterate smoker Nesbit died. on 4 May 1924 aged 76 yrs from lung cancer.
  • Other than poetry published while she was still at school – Nesbit first published under the pseudonym Fabian Bland in collaboration with her husband in 1885.
  • Published under the androgynous E.Nesbit.
  • Poet and Author: Nesbit wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children. If nothing else Nesbit was productive – She really wanted to be taken seriously as an adult novelist and poet and throughout her life thought herself foremost a poet; but her niche was writing for children. For links to full-text copies of most of her books see this earlier post.
  • A number of her works, including Railway Children have been adapted to film (by the BBC).
  • Nesbit was a prominent Fabian Socialist whose friends included George Bernard Shaw, H.G Wells, and G.K Chesterton

Over the next couple of months I have a series of posts planned on the themes in Nesbit’s work, and other aspects of her life, theology, and politics.


Briggs, Julia. A Woman of Passion: The Life of E.Nesbit. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987.
Crouch, Marcus. The Nesbit Tradition: The Children’s Novel in England 1945-1970. London: Benn, 1972.
Gardner, Lyn. “Golden Age.” Guardian 26 March 2005.
Hearn, Michael Patrick, ed. The Victorian Fairy Tale Book. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.
Jackson, Rosemary. “Victorian Fantasies.” Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion. Ed. Rosemary Jackson. London: Methuen, 1981. 141-56.
Knoepflmacher, U.C. Ventures into Childland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Full Text.
Lurie, Alison. Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups: Subversive Children’s Literature. Boston: Little, 1990.
Pease, Edward R. History of the Fabian Society. New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1916.
Prickett, Stephen. Victorian Fantasy. 2nd ed. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2005.

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