The Little Duke, Richard The Fearless, Charlotte M. Yonge, Macmillan, 1924
The Little Duke, Richard the Fearless, Charlotte M. Yonge
[A beautiful and well-presented illustrated book]
About the author
Charlotte Mary Yonge (11 August 1823 – 24 May 1901) was an English novelist known for her huge output, now mostly out of print
Charlotte Mary Yonge was born in Otterbourne, Hampshire, England, on 11 August 1823 to William Yonge and Fanny Yonge, née Bargus. She was educated at home by her father, studying Latin, Greek, French, Euclid and algebra
She began writing in 1848, and published during her long life about 160 works, chiefly novels. Her first commercial success, The Heir of Redclyffe (1853), provided the funding to enable the schooner Southern Cross to be put into service on behalf of George Selwyn. Similar charitable works were done with the profits from later novels. Yonge was also a founder and editor for forty years of The Monthly Packet, a magazine (founded in 1851) with a varied readership, but targeted at British Anglican girls (in later years it was addressed to a somewhat wider readership)
About the book
The Little Duke, the first of C.M. Yonge's historical tales for children, appeared as a serial in her magazine The Monthly Packet in 1851. In 1854 a longer version on good paper, attractively illustrated and priced five shillings was brought out by Parker and Sons who had published Yonge's first best-seller, The Heir of Redclyffe, the previous year.
The main character is Richard Duke of Normandy, the great grandfather of William the Conqueror. At the beginning of the tale he is a boy of eight, who succeeds to the dukedom when his father is murdered in 943 A.D. His overlord King Louis carries the boy off to the French court. There his life seems to be in danger, and he is rescued by his faithful squire and returns to Normandy. There the serial ends, but the book continues with an account of the subsequent struggle between the Normans and French. It concludes with a summary of Richard's life, stressing his magnanimity.
The child Richard is an extremely well-drawn character, a recognisable small boy albeit one shaped by his particular heredity and environment. The author never allows him to be wiser and more perceptive than is natural for his age, and in matters beyond his comprehension intervenes as the omniscient narrator. The minor characters are seen through his eyes in general, and with the exception of King Louis, have only one or two traits apiece, but are consistent, all that would be required by child readers.
C.M. Yonge's aim seems to have been to convey moral as well as historical instruction. The first part concentrates on Richard's failings, their punishment and his reform, the second part on his virtues. She also wished to acquaint readers with the characters and events of a little known period of history. Her historical detail is meticulous, but her account of events is biased in favour of the Normans.
Macmillan, London, 1924
Decorative Cloth Boards
Bound in red cloth boards
With black lettering and drawing to upper board.and to spine
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