Period piece

by Gwen Raverat

Paperback, 1991




Ann Arbor Paperbacks 1991


At the close of 1952, Bettrand Russell wrote to Gwen Raverat that he had been reading Period Piece "with the very greatest delight." Raverat's memories of childhood and coming of age during the final years of Victoria's reign capture a young woman's impressions of dons, eccentrics, and tradespeople in Cambridge during the 1890s. With astonishing power Period Piece brings us into the real presence of the late Victorian past.  


(64 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member chilirlw
First off, I notice I've been using the word "charming" in a few reviews lately. So I will not refer to this book as being charming. It is, however, delightful, appealing, winning, and entrancing. It is a memoir of the author's childhood in the late Victorian period, and though her grandfather was
Show More
Charles Darwin, and most of the relatives she profiles are Darwins or Wedgwoods, several of whom had quite distinguished careers, one doesn't read the book to find out about the lives of famous people. In fact, no one does anything particularly noteworthy in the book at all. What delights is rather the affectionate picture of a time and place, and the wonderful wonderful voice of the writer: "The first religious experience that I can remember is getting under the nursery table to pray that the dancing mistress might be dead before we got to the Dancing Class." "By all accounts I was a charming baby. As I have never been considered particularly charming since then, I think it only just to myself to set this on record…How I have gone off since then!" The book is illustrated thoughout with the author's own line drawings, with captions which quite often made me giggle with glee. A great escape from the tumult of one's own hurried life.
Show Less
LibraryThing member sdzonsons13
I first read this book at school, in about 1962. I've always loved it, and I still have my original copy, which is the pink Faber edition. I love the illustrations done by the author, and I often look at it and re-read sections. It's like time travel, and makes the whole era come alive. I've always
Show More
loved totally everything about it, from when I was about 14. However not everyone in my class liked it, lots thought it boring.(!!) There is another book about Gwen Raverat that I just found, with examples of her beautiful woodcuts...I wish I had one - .
Show Less
LibraryThing member edella
Period Piece is an altogether delightful book, a kind of insouciant wit, too appreciative to be called cynical, too unillusioned to be called pious. Mrs Raverat is not a Darwin for nothing. Her book comes out of a highly civilized background – the English professional and intellectual
Show More
middle-classes, which, if not the backbone of England, may be held to be, on the whole, its mainstream of culture, and of sophisticated intelligence and wit.
Show Less
LibraryThing member atreic
The preface to this book states 'This is a circular book. It does not begin at the beginning and go on to the end; it is all going on at the same time, sticking out like the spokes of a wheel from the hub, which is me. So it does not matter which chapter is read first or last'. That seems a pretty
Show More
accurate description of this sweet, rambling autobiographical look into Cambridge at the turn of the century before the wars. Gwen, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, is in an enviably priviledged position, although she has a wry eye for the constraints that that places upon her. I must confess, I think I loved this book mostly because I love Cambridge. The viewpoints it gives you on things I have taken forgranted for a long time - where the Mill pub is now there was once a Mill! Punts in Cambridge are a relatively new innovation! - were fascinating.
Show Less
LibraryThing member overthemoon
Wood engraver of the Bloomsbury Group. Raverat's down-to-earth reminiscences of her childhood in Cambridge, which sounds idyllic though she constantly grumbles about the restrictions of clothes, dancing class, having to attend church, and other hateful things, like the skin on boiled milk. Well
Show More
written, well illustrated, funny and entertaining. Includes a short story about a little girl, Georgette, in the French town of Vence
Show Less



Original publication date


Physical description

281 p.


0472064754 / 9780472064755
Page: 0.4665 seconds