A Nursery in the Nineties

Eleanor Farjeon
Date Published
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First published in 1935, Eleanor Farjeon’s A Nursery in the Nineties is one of the most striking accounts of childhood ever written: a testament to a happy and creative upbringing from an author rightly renowned for her powerfully imaginative books for children.

‘Nellie’ was born in 1881, her father a popular novelist, her mother from a famous American acting family. She was never sent to school, was often in poor health and developed a crushing self-consciousness in company. The nursery at home therefore marked the limits of her universe through her formative years; yet it was in this hothouse atmosphere that ‘Nellie’ began to read, write stories and, with her three brothers, evolve the rituals and games that dominated their lives. Though she later admitted that such experience hampered her mature development, her imagination certainly flourished, a gift that was soon to communicate itself to legions of readers.


Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) was a British author of children’s stories and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire. Many of her works were illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. She lived much of her life among the literary and theatrical circles of London, and her friends included D H Lawrence, Walter de la Mare and Robert Frost. For several years she had a…

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