Journals Higher Education



Published: 14 March 2013

288 Pages | 2 black and white, plus 8 wood-engraved chapter initials


ISBN: 9780199645602

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The Water-Babies

Charles Kingsley
Edited by Brian Alderson and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Oxford World's Classics

  • A handsome new edition of Kingsley's extraordinary children's fantasy, published to mark the 150th anniversary of first publication of The Water-Babies.
  • Conventionally regarded as a children's book in its many abridged and expurgated versions, this edition reprints the original first edition text and explores the multiple facets of The Water-Babies: social polemic, topical satire, moral fable, evolutionary tract, naturalist's handbook, and fairy tale.
  • Introduction by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores the genesis and context of Kingsley's tale, its linguistic oddities and multiple genres, its delight in nature and scientific discovery mixed with romance and mythic symbolism.
  • Reproduces the unabridged first-edition text, including the original illustrations and wood-engraved chapter initials.
  • Explanatory notes provide a wealth of background information concerning contemporary figures, literature, and events alluded to in the text.
  • Includes an appendix of textual changes between the story's first appearance in Macmillan's Magazine and in book form, and part of Kingsley's essay 'The Wonders of the Shore', in which he first wrote about the myriad creatures living underwater.
  • Attractive gift edition with ribbon marker.

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