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E. Nesbit's Psammead Trilogy: A Children's Classic at 100

by Raymond E. Jones (Editor)

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There is an urgent need to address the problems experienced by rapidly growing cities in the developing world. Recently, innovative approaches have focused on community-based organizations (CBOs) in setting up self-help and participatory programmes. Using the experience of CBOs in Manila, this book emphasizes the external conditions that influence patterns of collective action within communities and addresses issues such as the local political economy and the communities' place within the global economy.… (more)
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This is a far better collection of essays than The World of Oz, the other entry in the ChLA's Centennial Series which I've read. Unlike that volume, each of the thirteen articles here works to a critical purpose, with many of them examining aspects of Nesbit's confusing politics: her apparently progressive socialistic tendencies, class beliefs, and gender dynamics that sometimes appear to run counter to her distinctly middle-class, traditionalist children's fiction. Several of the essays also bring her association with Fabianism into account. Sometimes, the essays are a little bit repetitive of each other (which is perhaps unsurprising), but taken together they do provide a comprehensive examination of the Psammead novels. The final entries, focusing on the illustrations of H.R. Millar and the Nesbit-inspired fantasy of Edward Eager, do manage to break away somewhat from the overarching themes of the rest of the collection. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that, in comparison to the other two books, The Phoenix and the Carpet is relatively lightly represented within the overall conversation. ( )
  saroz | Dec 22, 2015 |
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There is an urgent need to address the problems experienced by rapidly growing cities in the developing world. Recently, innovative approaches have focused on community-based organizations (CBOs) in setting up self-help and participatory programmes. Using the experience of CBOs in Manila, this book emphasizes the external conditions that influence patterns of collective action within communities and addresses issues such as the local political economy and the communities' place within the global economy.

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The year 2006 marks the hundredth anniversary of book publication of the final volume of the Psammead trilogy - Five Children and It (1902), The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904), and The Story of the Amulet (1906)-a remarkable series of fantasy novels for children by an equally remarkable writer, Edith Nesbit. In this trilogy, Nesbit combined fantasy and history with the domestic realism and humor of her Bastable books - The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1899), The Wouldbegoods (1901), and The New Treasure Seekers (1904) - the books that established her reputation as one of England's preeminent writers for children. By doing so, she not only earned popularity with several generations of child readers, but she also established her claim to a position in the pantheon of important writers for children. The essays collected in this volume celebrate the completion of the Psammead trilogy. Written by both established and new scholars in England, Canada, and the United States, these essays employ differing critical strategies and place Nesbit in various contexts to assess her achievement.
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