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The Runaway

by Elizabeth Anna Hart
Persephone book no:

36 37 38

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ISBN 9781903155264

This 1872 novel by a mid-Victorian poet and novelist is about a girl named Clarice, living with her widowed father and her governess 'in a charming home at a convenient (railway) distance from the city.' One day she finds a girl of her own age hiding in the shrubbery. She is Olga and 'there is no question that she is the liveliest child character in English fiction' said the Observer in 1936. The subsequent plot is delightful rather than dramatic, for the joy of The Runaway is the way its style and tone pays tribute to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (which had appeared seven years before). 

The Runaway was a lifelong favourite of the artist Gwen Raverat: "I think that it is the sort of book which must always be liked, because it is such fun... It is not old-fashioned... Nor is it ever pious, or proper, or sentimental... It is a particularly good book to read aloud". 

It was at Raverat's suggestion that The Runaway was reissued with sixty of her wood-engravings, which we reproduce. Because of the delightful quality of the story, and the beautiful illustrations, this is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages.


For the endpapers we used a 1936 woodblock-printed curtain fabric designed and hand-printed on linen by Margaret Calkin James for the schoolroom at 'Hornbeams'.

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Categories: Childhood Teenagers (books for)

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