Mistress Masham's Repose

T. H. White (Author) Fritz Eichenberg (Illustrator)
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"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, the 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, lives 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.

Product Details

Nyrb Kids
Publish Date
October 25, 2016
5.2 X 0.5 X 7.6 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

T(erence) H(anbury) White (1906-1964) was born in Bombay, India, and educated at Cambridge University. His childhood was unhappy--"my parents loathed each other," he later wrote--and he became a solitary person with a deep fund of strange lore and unusual enthusiasms. Fascinated by medieval life and legend, White taught himself Latin shorthand and translated a Latin bestiary. He taught himself the ancient art of falconry, which he wrote about in his book The Goshawk. Indeed, it was as a writer that he became famous, most of all for The Once and Future King, his wonderful retelling of the stories of King Arthur. An exceptional fisherman, an airplane pilot, and a deep-sea diver, T. H. White seemed to follow the same advice he has Merlin give in The Once and Future King "The best thing for being sad is to learn something."

Fritz Eichenberg (1901-1990) was born and raised in Germany, where he became a successful political cartoonist. The rise of Hitler made him worry about his family's safety, and in 1933 he left Germany for the United States, where he illustrated classics such as Crime and Punishment and Wuthering Heights, along with the pages of Dorothy Day's radical news-sheet The Catholic Worker. Eichenberg also founded the Pratt Graphic Arts Center in Manhattan. He considered his teaching work " a debt I have paid off to this country. . . . I'm very fond of America as a country that has welcomed so many people from different parts of the world without asking questions."


"Contemporary children...will find wit and enchantment in 'Mistress Masham's Repose, ' a paperback reprint of the 1946 novel by White...it's a charming excursion from the fellow who penned the Arthurian tale, 'The Once and Future King.'" --Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

"A masterpiece of narration, literary ingenuity, humor and satire." --Commonweal

"I can think of few greater pleasures in reading aloud to a bookish child than to read that child first Gulliver's Travels and then Mistress Masham right after.... It is a stunning book for a child to know." --Noel Perrin

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

"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

"This is an exquisite filigree...As its Lilliputians would say, it is a Work to be held in high Esteam by all true Persons of Quality." --Basil Davenport

"There is, in fact, nothing which can be said about the book except to praise it without limit." --Thomas Sugrue