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...with deepest apologies to Shirley Foster and Judy Simons, whose book What Katy Read is (hopefully) on its way to me now. Isn't synchronicity wonderful (even if every spell-checker I've ever used insists it's a misspelling)? As I mentioned a few entries ago, Liz mentioned on A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy that there'd been a call for guest bloggers to contribute reviews of classics of children's lit on the very impressive AmoxCalli blog. (I'm going to be doing Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl as soon as I finish my reread - umpteenth, but for study purpose, which is different and fascinating! Might also do Cynthia Harnett's wonderful The Wool-Pack and Geoffrey Trease's Cue for Treason, if nobody beats me to them.)

Then I got thinking about doing a list from reading about the same time (in the MA course materials) that Charlotte Yonge's The Heir of Redclyffe 'is probably alluded to more often in other fiction for girls than any other (Jo is seen reading it in Little Women)'. And around then I noticed in Seven Little Australians the allusion to poor Meg's reading before her fast friend Aldith gets to her: 'Charlotte Yonge, Louisa Alcott and Miss Wetherall had hitherto formed her simple and wholesome fare'. (Makes them sound very roughage-ish, doesn't it?) And - completely out of the blue, Younger Daughter asked what the book was that Betsy had read so many times and then got a bad mark for her report on it, and we remembered it was Ivanhoe (full ref below). So, I got thinking of other examples I could remember - sometimes with a bit of digging, but sometimes without. A few books are so full of allusions to other novels that it's impossible to do more than a mention of the odd highlight, while a lot have more of the character's own writing or story-telling than specific mention of what she reads. I'm not going as near the present day with my classics as Fire and Hemlock, (though it is of course one of my top top books), but I'd love it if anyone would like to contribute books-within-books from the older classics.

The list so far... )


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