By Adrienne E. Gavin, Andrew F. Humphries
The 1st book-length look at childhood in Edwardian fiction, this booklet challenges assumptions that the Edwardian interval used to be easily a continuation of the Victorian or the beginning of the trendy. Exploring either classics and renowned fiction, the authors supply a a compelling picture of the Edwardian fictional cult of early life.
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Additional info for Childhood in Edwardian Fiction: Worlds Enough and Time
1914. The Short Stories of Saki. London: The Bodley Head, 1930. 441–6. Searle, G. R. The Quest for National Efficiency: A Study in British Politics and Political Thought 1899–1914. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970. Sinclair, May. ’ 1911. Uncanny Stories. 1923. Ed. Paul MarchRussell. Ware: Wordsworth Editions, 2006. 177–216. Thompson, Paul. The Edwardians: The Remaking of British Society. 2nd edn. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984. Wright, Patrick. On Living in an Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britain.
Returning repeatedly to the site, as if by his car’s ‘own volition’ (‘ “They” ’ 249), he gradually learns the house’s secret. The children are ghosts drawn to the woman who, through a form of second sight, can see the colours of ‘the naked soul’ (‘ “They” ’ 253), which outline the Orphic Egg, an ancient symbol for eternity. In particular, the narrator realizes that one of these children is his own for whom he silently grieves: The little brushing kiss fell in the centre of my palm – as a gift on which the fingers were, once, expected to close: as the all-faithful half-reproachful signal of a waiting child not used to neglect even when grown-ups were busiest – a fragment of the mute code devised very long ago.
He diminishes the effects of cultural and historical contexts to argue for a very Romantic conception of both childhood and the role of the author, in which the fictionalized portrait of the child is the sole property of the author’s inspiration, the direct result of conscious and unconscious motivations. Consequently, despite the plausibility of his argument, Carpenter’s approach cannot explain the cultural construction of Edwardian childhood, since it tends to deny more historical and less author-centred readings.