Mistress Masham's Repose

By T.H. White; Fritz Eichenberg (Illustrator)
(NYR Children's Collection, Hardcover, 9781590171035, 260pp.)

Publication Date: June 30, 2004

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

"She saw: first, a square opening, about eight inches wide, in the lowest step...finally she saw that there was a walnut shell, or half one, outside the nearest door...she went to look at the shell—but looked with the greatest astonishment. There was a baby in it."

So ten-year-old Maria, orphaned mistress of Malplaquet, discovers the secret of her deteriorating estate: on a deserted island at its far corner, in the temple long ago nicknamed Mistress Masham's Repose, live an entire community of people—"The People," as they call themselves—all only inches tall. With the help of her only friend—the absurdly erudite Professor—Maria soon learns that this settlement is no less than the kingdom of Lilliput (first seen in Gulliver's Travels) in exile. Safely hidden for centuries, the Lilliputians are at first endangered by Maria's well-meaning but clumsy attempts to make their lives easier, but their situation grows truly ominous when they are discovered by Maria's greedy guardians, who look at The People and see only a bundle of money.




About the Author

Terence Hanbury White (1906–1964) was born in Bombay, India, and educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge. His childhood was unhappy—”my parents loathed each other,” he later wrote—and he grew up to become a solitary person with a deep fund of strange lore and a tremendous enthusiasm for fishing, hunting, and flying (which he took up to overcome his fear of heights). White taught for some years at the Stowe School until the success in 1936 of England Have My Bones, a book about outdoor adventure, allowed him to quit teaching and become a full-time writer. Along with The Goshawk, White was the author of twenty-six published works, including his famed sequence of Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King; the fantasy Mistress Masham’s Repose (published in The New York Review Children’s Collection); a collection of essays on the eighteenth century, The Age of Scandal; and a translation of a medieval Latin bestiary, A Book of Beasts. He died at sea on his way home from an American lecture tour and is buried in Piraeus, Greece.




Praise For Mistress Masham's Repose

"It is literate, graceful and malicious…altogether a really charming contrivance."
— Diana Trilling

"A masterpiece of narration, literary ingenuity, humor and satire. Mr. White, on the basis of this book, deserves to be mentioned in the company of Evelyn Waugh, C. S. Lewis, and George Orwell as one of the few fortunate possessors of a splendid prose style."
Commonweal

"Readers of earlier books by T.H. White (The Sword in the Stone, Witch in the Wood, The Ill-made Knight) can expect the able recreation of period decor, the faculty of transmuting accepted literature into new life, elements of very human humor."
Kirkus Reviews

"The action is shot through with humor, and the Lilliputians, with their eighteenth-century manner of speech and dress, are characters not soon forgotten."
The Horn Book

"One of the finest, most magical and extraordinary children’s books ever written."
— Anne Fine, Children’s Laureate of Britain

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