In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

ELT 36:2 1993 the Pioneer Players" which deals with the attempts of Craig and her group "to make audiences entertain ideas they might otherwise dismiss" by presenting "serious and controversial issues in an entertaining way." Her major objective was "to create a truly political theatre . . . with a practical as well as an intellectual dimension" and "underpinning Craig's political aims was a firm and broad feminism that went far beyond a narrowly suffragist point of view." She insisted that securing the vote would be "no miracle remedy for the problems facing women, [because] these problems were rooted in cultural attitudes that could not be erased by legislation." As all such collections, these essays vary in quality and scope. However they are enriched by very complete endnotes, a fine bibliography for "Further Reading," and a most helpful "Select Chronology" which lists by year the major "Social and Political," "Cultural," and Theatrical" events for the years 1850-1918. Unfortunately the only serious defect of the volume is the absence of an index. J. O. Baylen Professor Emeritus Eastbourne, England Edwardian Childhood Jane Pettigrew. An Edwardian Childhood. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. 108 illustrations (69 color) 160 pp. $25.00 THE ILLUSTRATIONS, photographs, pictures, and drawings in Jane Pettigrew's An Edwardian Childhood record, beautifully, the exterior lives of upper-class children in Edwardian England. The book, textually and visually, glosses over the lives of the "twenty-seven million . . . working class" people, and instead focuses in much detail on the material lives of the children born to the "wealthy minority" who lived "a life of extravagant pleasure and easy comfort." Each of the ten chapters, organized topically by titles such as "Nanny's Domain," "In the Schoolroom," and "Out in the Fresh Air," begins with scant references to class differences, but quickly launches into the heart of the book—a detailed depiction of the fashions, customs, and activities of privileged children. Pettigrew ultimately depicts a nostalgic, idealized fantasy of what it was to be a child in a bygone era. In "An Ordinary Day," for example, Pettigrew writes that in "wealthy households" "the children might snuggle into Nanny's warm bed for a cuddle, or sit on top of the quilt and play with small toys." Lists and lists of what such toys might be emerge in "A Visit to the Toyshop": "When the 'piggy bank' contained 238 BOOK REVIEWS enough pennies, a child could make the trip to the local toy shop and choose from a vast array of mechanical toys, dolls, train sets and games." Despite the sentimentalized generalities that establish its superficial tenor, Pettigrew's book does provide a wealth of detail concerning the surface fashions and styles of the lives of the very rich. Pettigrew's research, though limited in scope, is remarkably thorough, with an index and bibliography that provides easy access to her information. Just the lists of the books and magazines popular in the Edwardian Age are worth a quick read in the chapter entitled "Pleasures and Pastimes." Also, Pettigrew has interviewed or found comments by many people who grew up during this time, and she sprinkles the text with their recorded reminiscences. In "Cause for Celebration," for example, Cynthia Asquith describes Easter: "We always went to Clouds for Easter—a festival kept by Gan with as much ceremony—hundreds of eggs hidden all over the garden and the house—as Christmas"; and Joan Pynder recalls that at Christmas there "was a huge Christmas tree and choirboys because we had a chapel." The tone of fond reminiscence for a world that has been "lost for ever" pervades. While An Edwardian Childhood cannot be seen, really, as a book promoting scholarly study, reading it is an interesting nostalgic trip through lives that seems more mythic than real. And the wealth of detail and the beauty of the pictures and illustrations make it of passing interest to those interested in style as well as substance. Pettigrew gives us all the accoutrements, but little real examination of "the golden days of Edwardian childhood." Deborah Martinson ______________ Occidental College Symbol and Method: Schreiner's Fiction Gerald Monsman. Olive Schreiner's Fiction: Landscape and Power. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 238-239
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.