The Most Amazing Book Ever Written

This gallery contains 2 photos.

So ran the advertising slogan for H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 novel King Solomon’s Mines. The University of Exeter Special Collections has an early edition, complete with fold-out map pasted into the front of the book. A caption on the map reads: ‘Fac-simile of the map of the route to King Solomon’s Mines, now in the … Continue reading

Edith Nesbit: Writing for the Nursery

Edith Nesbit’s writing continues to be of interest to readers of all sorts, including students on the English degree course at the Cornwall Campus of the University of Exeter, who study The Railway Children as part of the Women’s Writing module.

If you’re taking that module, do you agree with the writer of ‘Boys, Girls, and Trains: Ambiguous Gender Roles in E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children’, that whilst staying within the conventions of children’s literature of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods the novel also works to question strict notions of gender roles?

How do the illustrations in the Edith Nesbit gallery represent interactions between boys and girls?

Edith Nesbit Novels at Central Library: Gallery

This gallery contains 21 photos.

Edith Nesbit was in the news last week, with the Guardian reporting that Jacqueline Wilson has written an updated version of her 1902 novel Five Children and It. Imogen Russell Williams who writes a column on children’s books, said that she was ‘deeply torn’ by this news and pointed out that this is ‘not a … Continue reading

Mrs Arthur Gaskin and The Travellers

Title page from The Travellers (circa 1898)

And when we reach the ocean blue we mean to buy a boat. It must be large enough for six and guaranteed to float.

The image at the top of the blog, and our profile picture, are taken from The Travellers and Other Stories in the Devon Collection of Children’s Books at Central Library. The book was written and illustrated by Georgie Evelyn Cave Gaskin (1866-1934), whose pen name was ‘Mrs Arthur Gaskin’. Though the edition isn’t dated, it was probably published around 1898. Georgie Gaskin was most well known as a jeweller, but The Travellers is a beautiful example of her illustration work. Continue reading


Welcome to Girls and Boys in Storyland! This site will follow the progress of two exhibitions of early children’s literature, taking place at Exeter Central Library and the University of Exeter in April 2012. Both Central Library and the University have exciting collections of early children’s books and the exhibitions will showcase some of the highlights of each. From Margery Meanwell (aka Goody-Two Shoes) to Matt Merrythought (the boy who was always happy), the exhibitions will give you a chance to see how boys and girls were depicted in rhymes, stories and illustrations from the nineteenth- and early-twentieth centuries. Continue reading