The first major biography of the trailblazing and controversial children’s author E. Nesbit
Edith Nesbit (1858–1924) is considered the first modern writer for children and the inventor of the children’s adventure story. In The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit, award-winning biographer Eleanor Fitzsimons uncovers the little-known details of her life, introducing readers to the Fabian Society cofounder and fabulous socialite who hosted legendary parties and had admirers by the dozen, including George Bernard Shaw. Through Nesbit’s letters and archival research, Fitzsimons reveals “E.” to have been a prolific lecturer and writer on socialism and shows how Nesbit incorporated these ideas into her writing, thereby influencing a generation of children—an aspect of her literary legacy never before examined. Fitzsimons’s riveting biography brings new light to the life and works of this famed literary icon, a remarkable writer and woman.
Fitzsimons (Wilde's Women) offers a charming, lively, and old-fashioned biography of Victorian and Edwardian-era author Edith Nesbit (1858 1924). Endlessly short of money, Nesbit's output ran to poetry, essays, and adult novels and short fiction but children's literature was where her genius lay, evinced most famously by the much-read novel The Railway Children. As Fitzsimons shows, Nesbit's life infused her work, and her life was dramatic and stylish. She cofounded the Fabians, an influential socialist group that included George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, and cultivated an eccentric, signature personal style, wearing flowing, loose-fitting gowns with no corset, bangles up her arms, and an inevitable cigarette in a long holder, and living in a series of picturesque, if sometimes shabby, homes, one surrounded by a moat. Fitzsimons also conveys Nesbit's complicated domestic arrangements her husband, Hubert Bland, was a serial philander and asked Nesbit to raise two of his children with another woman. Fitzsimons's book benefits from a wealth of sources, though some repetitions, such as the many references to Nesbit's long cigarette holder, might be trimmed. Overall, however, Fitzsimons delivers a sprightly and highly readable life of a writer who deserves even wider recognition.