English writer and poet - Edith Nesbit

165th Birth Anniversary of English poet and writer Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) was English poet, novelist and short story writer. She was born in Kennington, Surrey on August 15. She had a significant impact on children's literature, particularly in the realm of fantasy. Her upbringing in France and Germany during her early years influenced her later works. She was intrigued by socialist ideas and played a role in establishing the Fellowship of New Life, which later contributed to the creation of the Fabian Society.

At the age of 19, Edith Nesbit married Hubert Bland, with whom she shared political beliefs. Together, they played a role in establishing the Fabian Society in 1884, a socialist movement that later influenced the development of the English Labour Party. Edith's connection to her children was evident in her writing, as she dedicated some of her works to them. Tragically, her son Fabian passed away at the tender age of five, prompting her to dedicate several of her books, such as "Five Children and It" and "The Story of the Treasure Seekers," to his memory.

Nesbit's notable literary creations include "The Story of the Treasure Seekers", "The Wouldbegoods," and "The Railway Children," the last of which was adapted into a well-received film in 1970. Nesbit's commitment to introducing her young readers to the complexities of life is evident in works like her renowned story "The Railway Children." This tale serves as a prime illustration of her approach, as it delves into the genuine challenges children face. The story revolves around the hardship endured by children who must navigate life without their father, who is unjustly imprisoned on espionage charges. Despite the poignant themes, the story maintains its charm and culminates in a joyful resolution. Her innovative approach to children's fantasy involved blending ordinary children with magical elements in real-world settings, inspiring authors like P. L. Travers, Edward Eager, Diana Wynne Jones, J. K. Rowling, and even C. S. Lewis in his Narnia series. Beyond children's literature, Nesbit also penned works for adults, including novels and horror stories.

In her later years, she lived in different places, ultimately settling in Jesson, St Mary's Bay, New Romney, Kent, where she passed away in 1924 due to likely complications from lung cancer exacerbated by her smoking habit. Her husband, Thomas, also died at the same location in 1935. Nesbit's imaginative storytelling continues to leave an enduring legacy in the literary world.


                                                    Aigerim Rysbakova, International Book Department