Edith Nesbit, born August 19, 1858, in London, was the youngest of four children, and was only three when her father died. Her widowed mother tried for a time to manage the agricultural college of which he had been principal. When Nesbit was eight, however, her mother moved to Europe, and for the next five years Nesbit was enrolled in a series of continental schools which she hated. Her only happy memories from this period were of her brief stay with a family in Brittany who had a daughter her age. When her family returned to England, she lived for a time in a country house in Kent, but her mother's financial difficulties forced them to move back to London.
When Nesbit was twenty, she met Hubert Bland, a bank clerk, whom she married a year later. The Blands hosted a literary and intellectual group who met regularly at their home, and eventually founded the socialistic Fabian society. When Bland was stricken with smallpox, and his business partner absconded with his funds, the family was left penniless. Nesbit, who had been publishing verse occasionally, was then forced to support her four children by selling stories. She was a prolific writer, and the poems and short stories she sold to newspapers were very popular. Along with raising a family and earning a living by "hack" writing, Nesbit found time to work for the poor and practice her socialist principles.
Nesbit did not begin writing novels for young adults—considered her greatest...
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