When I feel particularly stressed....

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....I often revert to reading kiddie lit. This being the mother of all stressful weeks for me (by Friday I may be reading BOARD books!), I have picked up a children's classic I had never read before: The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley. My friend Jose looked astonished when I told her I had never read it, and then when I was poking around at the used book store, there it was.

Too good to be a simple coincidence, don't you think?

Anyway, it is a Vicorian era fairy story, and very charming so far. My edition is actually abridged. Without real searching (and more $$$ than I spent) the only editions available are abridged. Apparently, it has been abridged for some of the animus towards America/Americans and some of the characterization of the Irish. Oh well.

I'll review it in full after I'm finished!


From what I remember that is one hard book to read!
In my favorite, Mother Carey's Chickens, Water Babies is referenced quite a bit. A bit confusing, that part, for me...

Me too, me too!

But for me it's Louisa May Alcott.

(Something's wrong with your comment software: it found my address with the word "h*otmail" questionable and refused to post.)

Dear Mama T,

I could never quite get over the Kingsley/Newman thing to properly treat Kingsley. I remember vaguely liking The Water Babies but I rather wondered whether even a Victorian Age child could possibly have read it.



I tried to read it back when I was a kid- couldn't get into it at all. (And that's saying something, considering what a literary omnivore I was ! )
Of course, now I believe Kingsley's greatest literary contribution was what he provoked rather than what he actually wrote himself. (If you want your blood to boil, his "What Does Dr. Newman Mean ?" just the ticket- I skip it when I re-read "Apologia" ...)

BTW, when I tried to post this, it wouldn't let me put in my e-mail address without a star. Apparently "h*otmail" is considered questionable content!

I had the same trouble trying to post yesterday, but they were working on the server all day.

Kingsley, a clergyman, wrote Water Babies at a time when Londoners were becoming agitated about the phenomenon of unwed mothers dropping their babies off bridges into the Thames. (Whenever there was a dry summer or an especially low tide, things came into view that usually remained covered by water.) I wonder if his fellow Victorians, masters of the art of psychological redirection, took Water Babies to their hearts because it played out a more acceptable resolution for this social problem.


This appears to have the unabridged text, but I wouldn't know for certain.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on May 17, 2004 7:27 PM.

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