In Which Things Get Nesbitty

28 February 2006

It was a nasty weekend with virus on top of antibiotics, and so I spent most of it on the couch reading, mostly E. Nesbit novels. It had been more than a decade and a half since I last read anything by E. Nesbit, and there was some stuff that didn't occur to me at the time, but mostly it was as I remembered it. Like many children's books from before my time, though, it came in backwards: references that were supposed to be things kids already knew were instead things I learned. I didn't know who H. Rider Haggard was until I read about him in E. Nesbit (and if I recall correctly, Nesbit herself was someone I looked up after reading a mention in Edward Eager).

I find myself feeling tremendously sorry for her, because of the things she would have yet to witness, and because of the things she wouldn't. In The Story of the Amulet, one of the things that's worth mentioning in the utopian-Wellsian future is that both men and women are taking care of and playing with children in a park. Having my daddy take me to the park was something I took for granted -- and not just that, but something everyone around me took for granted, too. There were lots of things my dad did that no one else's dad did, but the park was not one of them. The park was one of my family's points of normalcy.

I would have made a terrible city Edwardian. Or else, I suppose, a splendid one, arrested for writing this and that and the other. But that's more splendid from the outside than from the inside, I think.

(I say "city Edwardian," because I'm well aware that my ancestors at the time were milking cows, men and women both; that writing this and that and the other was a luxury they might have had on a winter evening, but probably not.)

I think it's time for me to move on and read something completely different. And to post this and move on, which I didn't manage to do last night. Sorry.

Back to Novel Gazing.

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