Cambridge University Press
0521812933 - The Child Writer from Austen to Woolf - Edited by Christine Alexander and Juliet McMaster


In this highly original collection leading scholars address the largely overlooked genre of childhood writings by major authors, and explore the genesis of genius. The book includes essays on the first writings of Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charlotte and Branwell Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, George Eliot, John Ruskin, Lewis Carroll, and Virginia Woolf. All began writing for pleasure as children, and later developed their professional ambitions. In bursts of creative energy, these young authors, as well as those like Daisy Ashford, who wrote only as a child, produced prose, verse, imitation and parody, wild romance, and down-to-earth daily records. Their juvenile writings are fascinating both in themselves, and for the promise of greater works to come. The volume includes an invaluable and thorough annotated bibliography of juvenilia, and will stimulate many new directions for research in this lively and fascinating topic.

CHRISTINE ALEXANDER is Professor of English at the University of New South Wales and General Editor of the Juvenilia Press. She is co-author of the Oxford Companion to the Brontës (2003), and has published extensively on the juvenilia and art of the Brontës, as well as on gothic literature, Jane Austen, landscape gardening, and critical editing.

JULIET McMASTER is University Professor Emerita of English at the University of Alberta and Founder of the Juvenilia Press. She is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen (1997) and has published books and articles on Thackeray, Trollope, Dickens, and the eighteenth-century novel.


General editor
Gillian Beer, University of Cambridge

Editorial board
Isobel Armstrong, Birkbeck College, London
Kate Flint, Rutgers University
Catherine Gallagher, University of California, Berkeley
D. A. Miller, Columbia University
J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine
Daniel Pick, Queen Mary University of London
Mary Poovey, New York University
Sally Shuttleworth, University of Sheffield
Herbert Tucker, University of Virginia

Nineteenth-century British literature and culture have been rich fields for inter- disciplinary studies. Since the turn of the twentieth century, scholars and critics have tracked the intersections and tensions between Victorian literature and the visual arts, social organization, economic life, technical innovations, scientific thought – in short, culture in its broadest sense. In recent years, theoretical challenges and historiographical shifts have unsettled the assumptions of previous scholarly synthesis and called into question the terms of older debates. Whereas the tendency in much past literary critical interpretation was to use the metaphor of culture as ‘background’, feminist, Foucauldian, and other analyses have employed more dynamic models that raise questions of power and of circulation. Such developments have reanimated the field.

   This series aims to accommodate and promote the most interesting work being undertaken on the frontiers of the field of nineteenth-century literary studies: work which intersects fruitfully with other fields of study such as history, or literary theory, or the history of science. Comparative as well as interdisciplinary approaches are welcomed.

   A complete list of titles published will be found at the end of the book.




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Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 2005

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2005

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data
The child writer from Austen to Woolf / edited by Christine Alexander and Juliet McMaster.
p. cm. – (Cambridge studies in nineteenth-century literature and culture; 47)
“This collection on childhood writings is intended to recognize the child’s own authentic voice and authority, and to explore a category of literature that has been largely neglected” – Introd.
ISBN 0-521-81293-3
1. Children’s writings, English – History and criticism. 2. English literature – 19th century – History and criticism. 3. Children – Great Britain – Intellectual life. 4. Children’s writings, English – Bibliography. I. Alexander, Christine (Christine Anne) II. McMaster, Juliet. III. Series.
PR120.C55C48 2005
820.9′9282 – d22 2004065040

ISBN-10 0 521 81293 3 hardback
ISBN-13 978 0 521 81293 1 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of illustrations page ix
Notes on the contributors xi
Acknowledgements xiv
1   Introduction 1
  Christine Alexander and Juliet McMaster
2   Nineteenth-century juvenilia: a survey 11
  Christine Alexander
3   Play and apprenticeship: the culture of family magazines 31
  Christine Alexander
4   What Daisy knew: the epistemology of the child writer 51
  Juliet McMaster
5   Defining and representing literary juvenilia 70
  Christine Alexander
6   Jane Austen, that disconcerting ‘child’ 101
  Margaret Anne Doody
7   Endless imitation: Austen’s and Byron’s juvenilia 122
  Rachel M. Brownstein
8   Childhood writings of Elizabeth Barrett Browning: ‘At four I first mounted Pegasus’ 138
  Beverly Taylor
9   Autobiography and juvenilia: the fractured self in Charlotte Brontë’s early manuscripts 154
  Christine Alexander
10   The child is parent to the author: Branwell Brontë 173
  Victor A. Neufeldt
11   Choosing a model: George Eliot’s ’prentice hand 188
  Juliet McMaster
12   Precocity and the economy of the evangelical self in John Ruskin’s juvenilia 200
  David C. Hanson
13   Louisa May Alcott’s juvenilia 222
  Daniel Shealy
14   Dr Arnold’s granddaughter: Mary Augusta Ward 237
  Gillian E. Boughton
15   New Woman, ‘New Boots’: Amy Levy as child journalist 254
  Naomi Hetherington
16   An annotated bibliography of nineteenth-century juvenilia 269
  Lesley Peterson and Leslie Robertson
Index 304


2.1   ‘Triomph of the B[rooking] B[udget] over all other periodicalls’; by kind permission of Lucy Magruder. page 20
3.1   The thirteen-year-old Lewis Carroll’s editorial on ‘Rust’, with his ‘Ox-eyed’ illustration, from The Rectory Magazine; courtesy of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at Austin, Texas. 40
3.2   22 Hyde Park Gate, where Virginia Stephen and her siblings produced their ‘Hyde Park Gate News’; reproduced from Virginia Woolf: Life and London by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, published by Cecil Woolf Publishers, 1 Mornington Place, London NW1 7RP (1987), all rights reserved. 43
4.1   A joke from Punch of October 1919, following the publication and success of The Young Visiters; a girl writer reading to her governess, inspired by the success of another girl writer, Daisy Ashford. 54
5.1   Manuscript page from Charlotte Brontë’s Tales of the Islanders; courtesy of the Brontë Society. 90
5.2   Branwell Brontë’s title page to ‘The History of the Young Men’ (1831), by the narrator Captain John Bud, who describes the establishment of the Glass Town Federation in West Africa; by permission of the British Library. 92
6.1   ‘The Rice Portrait’ of Jane Austen by Ozias Humphrey. By kind permission of Henry Rice. 102
7.1   Earliest portrait of Byron, at the age of seven. Engraved by Edward Finden from the painting by John Kaye of Edinburgh; courtesy of John Murray. 123
8.1   The young Elizabeth Barrett Browning, aged about nineteen, artist unknown; courtesy of Gordon E. Moulton-Barrett. 139
11.1   Engraving of Harry Marten’s Tower in Chepstow Castle, a spur to the young George Eliot’s creativity. From William Coxe’s Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (1801). 195
12.1a and b   George Cruikshank, engraved title page, vol. I, Grimm’s German Popular Stories (London: C. Baldwin, 1823); and, ‘Gaffer Grin’ and ‘Don Quixote’s Giant’, a page from John Ruskin’s illustrated manuscript ‘The Puppet Show’, illustrating the family joke about ‘little large boys’; courtesy of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (MA 3451 and PML 75702). 207
14.1a and b   Two watercolour illustrations for ‘The Fox How Magazine’ by Jane Arnold, Mary Arnold’s aunt and sister of Matthew Arnold: ‘I told you they were eight’ and ‘The other Day upon the Ice’; courtesy of Dove Cottage Trust. 240

Notes on the contributors

CHRISTINE ALEXANDER is Professor of English at the University of New South Wales, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and currently Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge, UK. She is the author of a British Academy prize-winning book on the Early Writings of Charlotte Brontë, and a Bibliography of the Manuscripts of Charlotte Brontë; editor of a multi-volume Edition of the Early Writings of Charlotte Brontë, and of Charlotte Brontë’s High Life In Verdopolis: A Tale from the Glass Town Saga; and co-author of The Art of the Brontës and the recent The Oxford Companion to the Brontës. She has also published essays on other aspects of the Brontës, gothic literature, Jane Austen, landscape gardening, critical editing, and literary juvenilia. She is now the General Editor of the Juvenilia Press.

GILLIAN E. BOUGHTON teaches in the departments of English Studies and of Theology in the University of Durham, England, where she is Vice-Principal of St Mary’s College. She organized the first conference of Literary Juvenilia in July 1996, held in Durham. Her doctoral research and current editing projects focus on the early and mid-nineteenth century childhood writings of the children of Dr Arnold of Rugby and of his granddaughter Mary Arnold, later the novelist Mrs Humphry Ward (1851–1920).

RACHEL M. BROWNSTEIN Professor of English at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, is the author of Becoming a Heroine: Reading about Women in Novels and Tragic Muse: Rachel of the Comédie-Française, the winner of the 1993 George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association, as well as of a number of essays and articles on Jane Austen and other women writers.

MARGARET ANNE DOODY Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of two novels and a number of critical and biographical works, including A Natural Passion: A Study of the Novels of Samuel Richardson (1974), The Daring Muse: Augustan Poetry Reconsidered (1985), Frances Burney: The Life in the Works (1988), and The Story of the Novel (1998). She is also the co-editor of the Oxford World’s Classics volume of Jane Austen’s early fictions, Catharine and Other Writings (1993).

DAVID C. HANSON has published articles on John Ruskin’s juvenilia in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Modern Philology, Text, and Studies in Romanticism. He is working on a book on the early Victorian precocious child writer, as well as on an electronic edition of Ruskin’s early writing, The Early Ruskin Manuscripts, 1826–1842: A Comprehensive Edition with a Revised Chronology and Descriptive Bibliography. He teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also edits Nineteenth-Century Studies, the interdisciplinary journal of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association.

NAOMI HETHERINGTON teaches for the English Department at Cambridge University and the Centre for Jewish/Christian Relations, Cambridge, UK. She recently gained her Ph.D. in Christian narrative and New Woman writing (Olive Schreiner, Amy Levy, Sarah Grand) from the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, Southampton University, UK. She is currently working on an edition of critical essays on Levy, co-edited with Nadia Valman (Southampton University, UK).

JULIET McMASTER a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is the Founder of the Juvenilia Press, and was its General Editor until Christine Alexander succeeded her. She is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, and author of Reading the Body in the Eighteenth-Century Novel, Jane Austen the Novelist, Thackeray’s Major Novels, Trollope’s Palliser Novels, and Dickens the Designer, and of numerous essays on other novelists, including Defoe, Richardson, Sterne, Burney, Emily Brontë, and George Eliot. She also writes on children’s literature and on juvenilia. She has recently retired from her University Professorship at the University of Alberta.

VICTOR A. NEUFELDT Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of Victoria, and former Visiting Fellow and Life Member, Clare Hall, Cambridge, has published editions of the poems of Charlotte Brontë (1985), Branwell Brontë (1990), a bibliography of Branwell’s manuscripts (1993), a three-volume edition, The Works of Patrick Branwell Brontë (1997–99), and has prepared the entry for Branwell Brontë in the New Dictionary of National Biography, and the entries for Branwell in The Oxford Companion to the Brontës (2003). He is co-editor of George Eliot’s Middlemarch Notebooks (1979), and has published articles on Emily Brontë, George Eliot, and Robert Browning. He has served as Department Chair, as President of the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, and on various editorial boards.

LESLEY PETERSON is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Alberta, and a member of the Juvenilia Press Board. In addition to her research on early modern women dramatists, she has published on the juvenilia of Opal Whiteley, Anna Maria Porter, and Elizabeth Cary.

LESLIE ROBERTSON is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Alberta, specialising in literature of the Restoration and eighteenth century. She is a former Assistant Editor of the Juvenilia Press, and has co-edited and written introductions for Charlotte Brontë’s My Angria and the Angrians, and, most recently, Anna Maria Porter’s Artless Tales, published for the first time since 1793. In addition, she has written and spoken on the juvenilia of such authors as Jane Austen and Fanny Burney.

DANIEL SHEALY is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte, where he teaches classes in American literature and children’s literature. He is the editor or co-editor of eight books on Louisa May Alcott, including The Selected Letters of Louisa May Alcott and The Journals of Louisa May Alcott. He has also published articles in Studies in the American Renaissance, The New England Quarterly, and The Harvard Library Bulletin.

BEVERLY TAYLOR, Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of Francis Thompson, co-author of The Return of King Arthur: British and American Arthurian Literature since 1800 and of Arthurian Bibliography: the Middle Ages, and co-editor of two volumes of essays: The Cast of Consciousness: Concepts of the Mind in British and American Romanticism and Gender and Discourse in Victorian Literature and Art. She has published articles on Byron, Shelley, Carlyle, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Tennyson, Arnold, Elizabeth Siddal, and a variety of Arthurian subjects. She is completing a book on Elizabeth Barrett Browning and co-editing her poetry.


This collection owes much to the collaboration of an international group of scholars who are keen to share their special interest in childhood writings with others, and to extend work on this largely neglected category of literature.

   Christine Alexander would like to thank the President and members of her college, Clare Hall, Cambridge, UK, for her fruitful time as a Visiting Fellow during the academic year 2003–4. She is also grateful to the Faculty of Arts at the University of New South Wales, for a Faculty Research Grant. Juliet McMaster is grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for grants in support of her work with the Juvenilia Press.

   Some dozens of students have worked with the Juvenilia Press over the years, learning editing skills and gaining practice in annotation, textual notes, writing critical introductions, and sometimes providing illustrations too. As General Editors we have learned from them while working with them. Christine would like to thank Kathryn Nedeljkovic for her research assistance; and Juliet is particularly grateful to Leslie Robertson and Lesley Peterson, who having done yeoman service as research assistants and Assistant Editors of the Press have now collaborated in producing the final essay in this volume. They have been salient examples of that part of the Press’s project which is to promote student editors to the professional level.

   We would like to express our thanks to Sally Brown, Ann Dinsdale, Philip Kelley, Lucy Magruder, Gordon E. Moulton-Barrett, Elaine Riehm, Henry Rice, and Jean Moorcroft Wilson for help with illustrations; to Andrew Goadby, computer officer at Clare Hall, for solving technical problems; and to Richard Frith for his expert editorial assistance. In particular we would like to thank Linda Bree and Maartje Scheltens of Cambridge University Press, who have been most helpful and encouraging throughout the project.

   Our special thanks go to our husbands for their helpful suggestions, photographic assistance, and editorial and listening skills. With their support, and the cheerful collaboration of our contributors, we have thoroughly enjoyed our exploration into this new and exciting field of literature.


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