Little Lord Fauntleroy – A study in 19th century literature

Nina: Nana, Nana!

Nana: Stop singing that silly song, Nina or I shall spank you. Can you shut up for a while? I am trying to read a literary review for once in peace

Nina: But I wanted to talk to you about something similar. Actually, I was going to read out a review that Lavanya wrote on Little Lord Fauntleroy. Here, read it for yourself!

Nana: Fine, now go away!

**************************************************************************

How many of you have heard of the 1885 novel called Little Lord Fauntleroy? I am guessing not many. I found this little treasure a decade ago in a used book shop during one of my shop walks in Bangalore.

The writing style and story-line of this book conforms to the general writing pattern of contemporary authors in that century. Though the plot lines are different, this book strongly reminded me of Pollyanna, (written in the early twentieth century) which talks of how the faith of young children in the good-natured generosity of their benefactors (Cedric in LLF and Pollyanna in, well, Pollyanna) changes the lifestyle and habits of those around them.

While these writings may seem naive and simplistic to those of us living in an increasingly entwined virtual world, both these books are refreshing variants from those of us used to gory literature and even scarier news pages of today. The book starts with a familiar theme of novels from that century, namely, a British aristocrat marrying an American lady both of whom are parents of the protagonist, Cedric Errol. After his father’s death, Cedric is invited by his aging grandfather to be groomed as a future Earl and the only heir to the estates. The story then proceeds somewhat implausibly to show how the innocent faith of Cedric in his grandfather as the benefactor of the poor tenants in his estates marks a real change in the attitude of the grumpy Earl and forever changing him into a kinder and gentler soul.

Sudden appearances of a spurious claimant to Cedric’s legacy, the corresponding (minor) drama and how Cedric’s compassion in NY to a boot-jack of lower society helps him in establishing the truth, forms the rest of the narrative.

This book is suitable as a children’s read from the ages of 8 and above.

This post is a part of the #NinaAndNana series I co-host with Kanika G. Her posts can be found here.

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