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A Woman of Passion by Briggs Julia

A Woman of Passion by Briggs Julia

A Woman of Passion

A Woman of Passion by Briggs Julia


A Woman of Passion


The Life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1928


Julia Briggs

ISBN 10:


ISBN 13:








Place of publication:


Year Published:




Number of Pages:

473 + xx

Dimensions (mm):

197 x 130 x 30 mm

Shipping Weight (g):

400 g

Price (SEK):

150 SEK


In A Woman of Passion, Julia Briggs chronicles the life of author Edith Nesbit who is credited with being the first modern writer for children and the creator of the children's adventure story. Nesbit recorded her life with varying degrees of honesty in verse and prose, and while she seldom wrote entirely openly of her own experiences, she seldom wrote convincingly of anything else. In this fascinating read, Julia Briggs attempts to fill in the gaps of Nesbit's autobiographical material, painting an intriguing portrait of the famous author.

This is a biography of the author of "The Railway Children" and "The Treasure Seekers", written by the author of "Night Visitors: The Rise and Fall of the English Ghost story". Julia Briggs is also the co-author of "A View from the Spire: The Later Novels of William Golding".


Edith Nesbit is one of the greatest children's writers of the century. Though known in her day for her poems, short stories and romantic novels, she is now remembered as the author of "The Railway Children", "The Treasure Seekers" and many other stories of magic and adventure. Her readers loved to think of her as a reassuringly aunt-like figure, but this biography reveals her as a wilful, demanding and adventurous woman, a true Bohemian who broke all society's rules in her search for love. Nesbit has previously been presented as the much-exploited and long-suffering victim of her husband, Hubert Bland, a compulsive womaniser. The truth is more complex: an intense, if unconsummated affair with Bernard Shaw was followed by a series of love affairs with younger men. At the same time, her closest friend Alice Hoatson moved into her home as a housekeeper, where she bore Hubert two children whom Edith brought up as her own. The Blands were the founders of the Fabian Society, and this book records their friendships with figures like the Webbs, Eleanor Marx, Olive Schreiner and H.G. Wells. Edith Nesbit's own writing reflects her dynamic energy, her sense of fun and passionate joie-de-vivre. Julia Brigg's biography explores with subtlety the complex relationship between her life and her fiction.


Family tree






1 The pangs of childhoods


2 Careless raptures


3 New beginnings


4 Enter G.B.S.


5 The mouse and the cats


6 Admiring circles


7 The two Oswalds


8 Well hall


9 The crowded years


10 Reconstructing the past


11 The row with H.G.


12. Reconstructing the city


13 In the shadows






Notes on illustrations






About the Author:

Julia Briggs was a writer and critic of great talents, a gifted scholar and a profoundly generous teacher who pioneered the study of children's literature and of women's writing in universities. Deeply humanist in outlook, she had an abiding belief in the value of literary study and in the power of education to transform lives.


Julia Ballam grew up in London. Her father, Harry, worked in advertising, but also tried his hand at writing. Her mother, Trudi, had been a commercial artist. Julia attended South Hampstead high school and in 1963 won a scholarship to study English at St Hilda's College, Oxford.


Beautiful and brilliant, she also became pregnant at the end of her first year and was, she believed, the first female undergraduate not to be instantly expelled. She married the father, Peter Gold, and stayed on to give birth to her son and take a first-class degree. The marriage was short-lived, and in 1969 she married Robin Briggs, historian and fellow of All Souls College, with whom she had two more sons. They were divorced in 1989.


Julia always followed her literary instincts. At Oxford, while bringing up her family, she wrote a BLitt thesis on the English ghost story - not considered a proper subject for a doctorate - which became Night Visitors (1977), her first book. From 1978 she took up a permanent post as fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. In 1983 she published This Stage Play World: Texts and Contexts 1580-1625, revised in 1997 and still in use by students. She then devoted herself to finishing Donald Crompton's book on William Golding, A View from the Spire (1985), after he died. In 1987 she published a life of the children's writer and Fabian socialist, E Nesbit, A Woman of Passion, which contributed to the emerging study of children's literature, as did Children and Their Books: a Celebration of the Work of Iona and Peter Opie (1989), co-edited with Gillian Avery.


Very active in the Oxford English faculty, which she also chaired, Julia canvassed successfully for courses on women's writing. As general editor of the Penguin paperback re-issue of Virginia Woolf's work, when it came out of copyright in 1991, she oversaw the reprinting of 13 volumes, with introductions by renowned women scholars from Britain and the US, some of whom required delicate handling. She died aged 63 of a brain tumour.

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Edith Nesbit

Julia Briggs
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