Book Cover of Edith Nesbit


Lifetime: 1858 - 1924 Passed: ≈ 99 years ago


Writer, Poet



Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.

She wrote or collaborated on more than 60 books of children's literature. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organization later affiliated to the Labor Party.

Nesbit was born in 1858 at 38 Lower Kennington Lane in Kennington, Surrey (now classified as Inner London), the daughter of an agricultural chemist, John Collis Nesbit, who died in March 1862, before her fourth birthday. Her mother was Sarah Green (née Alderton). Her sister Mary's ill health meant that the family travelled around for some years, living variously in Brighton, Buckinghamshire, France (Dieppe, Rouen, Paris, Tours, Poitiers, Angoulême, Bordeaux, Arcachon, Pau, Bagnères-de-Bigorre, and Dinan in Brittany), Spain and Germany.

Edith's sister Mary was engaged in 1871 to the poet Philip Bourke Marston, but later that year she died from tuberculosis in Normandy.

After Mary's death, Edith and her mother settled for three years at Halstead Hall in Halstead in north-west Kent, a location which later inspired The Railway Children (this distinction has also been claimed by the Derbyshire town of New Mills).

When Nesbit was seventeen, the family moved back to London, living in South East London in Lewisham. There is a Lewisham Council plaque at 28 Elswick Road to mark her time there.

Towards the end of her life, she moved to "Crowlink" in Friston, and later to "The Long Boat" at Jesson, St Mary's Bay, New Romney, East Kent where, probably suffering from lung cancer (she "smoked incessantly"), she died in 1924 and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary in the Marsh. Her husband Thomas died at the same address on 17 May 1935. Edith's son Paul Bland was one of the executors of Thomas Tucker's will.

Books by Edith Nesbit

Railway Children Cover image

Railway Children

Fiction Novel
Children's Literature Courage Challenges

A thrilling spy story, a children's adventure, a charming portrait of early twentieth century life in London and the countryside and a heartwarming family tale are all combined in this classic of children's literature The Railway Children by E Nesbit...

The Book of Dragons Cover image

The Book of Dragons

Fiction Fairy Tale
Children's Literature Legend Myths

Eight enchanting tales about a variety of whimsical dragons, by a master of the craft, E Nesbit, are contained in this absolutely delightful volume, The Book of Dragons. While it's essentially meant for children, there are plenty of adults who will f...

The Enchanted Castle Cover image

The Enchanted Castle

Fantasy Novel
Children's Literature Legend Myths

A children’s fantasy novel first published in 1907, The Enchanted Castle recounts the marvelous adventures encountered by a curious group of children searching to enliven their summer holiday. Written in episodes, the novel has a different adventure...

The Story of the Treasure Seekers Cover image

The Story of the Treasure Seekers

Fiction Novel
Children's Literature

The Story of the Treasure Seekers is a novel by E. Nesbit. First published in 1899, it tells the story of Dora, Oswald, Dicky, Alice, Noel, and Horace Octavius (H. O.) Bastable, and their attempts to assist their widowed father and recover the fortun...

Five Children and It Cover image

Five Children and It

Fantasy Fiction Novel
Children's Literature Psammead Trilogy

Five Children and It is a children's novel by English author E. Nesbit. It was originally published in 1902 in the Strand Magazine under the general title The Psammead, or the Gifts, with a segment appearing each month from April to December. The sto...

The Magic World Cover image

The Magic World

Children's Literature Short Stories

The Magic World is an influential collection of twelve short stories by E. Nesbit. It was first published in book form in 1912 by Macmillan and Co. Ltd., with illustrations by H. R. Millar and Gerald Spencer Pryse. The stories, previously printed in...

The Wouldbegoods Cover image

The Wouldbegoods

Children's Literature Friendship Mischief Countryside

The Bastable children, first met in The Treasure Seekers, are sent to stay in the countryside; is it large enough to contain their exuberant activities? They (and Pincher the dog) have every intention of being good.

The House of Arden Cover image

The House of Arden

Fantasy Fiction Novel
Children's novel Fortune Magic Lost Ancestry

The House of Arden is a novel for children, written in 1908 by English author Edith Nesbit.

The Children's Shakespeare Cover image

The Children's Shakespeare

Children's Literature

This children's book retells twelve of Shakespeare's most popular plays as stories for children. Each of the plays are rewritten as short stories or fairy tales suitable to keep the attention of child readers or listeners. The introduction of the boo...

Nine Unlikely Tales for Children  Cover image

Nine Unlikely Tales for Children

Fairy Tale
Children Children's Literature Myths America Legends Magic United States

Nine original and, yes, unlikely fairy-tales, which include stories of the arithmetic fairy, the king who became a charming villa-residence and the dreadful automatic nagging machine.

Harding's Luck  Cover image

Harding's Luck

Fairy Tale Novel
Realism Children's novel Children Treasure Travel Discovery Classics Early Modern Magic

It tells the story of Dickie Harding, a disabled boy, who one day accidentally discovers an old magic, that allows him to travel into his own past. There he meets Elfrida and Edred Arden (as told in "The House of Arden") and together they seek for a...

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare  Cover image

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare

Fairy Tale
Young Children Biography Childhood Short Works

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare is a 1907 collection published by E. Nesbit with the intention of entertaining young readers and retelling William Shakespeare's plays in a way they could be easily understood by younger readers. She also included a...

Royal Children of English History  Cover image

Royal Children of English History

Battle Children Childhood Goodness England Royalty

"History is a story, a story of things that happened to real live people in our England years ago; and the things that are happening here and now, and that are put in the newspapers, will be history for little children one of these days. And the peop...

The Wonderful Garden Cover image

The Wonderful Garden

Fairy Tale
Children's novel Escape Children Beliefs Summer Fantastic Fiction

Caroline, Charles and Charlotte do, and nothing that happens during their summer holiday at their great uncle's house does anything to diminish that belief. There the Three C.'s find a wonderful garden and some very old books, resulting in escapades...

Selection From Many Voices  Cover image

Selection From Many Voices

Love Children Death Exploration Poems Imagination

This book of poems has many elements which would appeal to children but there’s also some exploration of her feelings of love, lust and longing which your average 10 year old would find downright yucky. There are also moments of joy, moments of suga...

Wings and the Child  Cover image

Wings and the Child

History Non-Fiction
Children Education Glory Science Magic

"When this book first came to my mind it came as a history and theory of the building of Magic Cities on tables, with bricks and toys and little things such as a child may find and use. But as I kept the thought by me it grew and changed, as thoughts...

Life's Little Ironies  Cover image

Life's Little Ironies

Fantasy Novel
Children Adventure Childhood Desire Magic General Fiction

The Phoenix and the Carpet is a fantasy novel for children, written by E. Nesbit and first published in 1904. It is the second in a trilogy of novels that begins with Five Children and It (1902), and follows the adventures of the same five children:...