Best 1907 Adventures (7)
February 21, 2017
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1907 adventure novels. Happy 110th anniversary!
Edith Nesbit’s fantasy adventure The Enchanted Castle.
Gerald, Kathleen and James (Jerry, Cathy, and Jimmy) are enjoying their summer holiday near the fictional village of Liddlesby when they visit a mysterious castle. A beautiful princess is asleep in the garden, at the center of a maze — or is she just Mabel, the housekeeper’s niece? Mabel shows the siblings a secret room filled with what appears to be treasure; there, they discover a magical ring. At first they think it’s an invisibility ring; then, to their surprise, they discover that the ring can do anything at all — it’s up to the wearer. (Is this where Tolkien got the idea, by the way?) They put the ring through its paces — for example, by helping a French schoolteacher find her long-lost love, catching a burglar, and bringing a brontosaurus statue to life. As with all Nesbit stories, the moral is: Be careful what you wish for. Unsentimental, humorous, idyllic, parent-free — this is fun Edwardian stuff.
Fun facts: Adapted into a TV-miniseries by the BBC in 1979. The Enchanted Castle appeared in the midst of an outpouring of terrific Nesbit stories — including The Railway Children (1906), the Psammead series adventure The Story of the Amulet (1906), and the House of Arden series adventure The House of Arden (1908).
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1907 adventures that you particularly admire.