Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beatrix Potter: Homeschooled

"Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality."

Beatrix Potter, born into a privileged household in the 1860s, was educated at home by a governess and was isolated from other children. Even her younger brother Bertram was most the time at boarding school. However, she grew up to be incredibly intellectual and artistically talented, publishing a series of 23 highly successful children's books in her thirties (the 'Peter Rabbit' stories). She died in 1943 leaving most of her property to the National Trust, helping to preserve the fell farming in the Lake District.

1 comment:

  1. Good Victorian governesses were frequently highly cultivated women from educated backgrounds (daughters of Oxbridge-educated vicars for instance) and they were able to give privileged girls a reasonably good and broad education and teach them how to think. Beatrix Potter was of a generation where formal and further education for women was almost non-existent and much opposed by mid-Victorian mothers.

    I remember meeting some of the last generation of governess-educated women, many of whom were highly intelligent, and they would frequently dismiss modern education as being little better than what a perfectly good governess could teach. Judging by their breadth of knowledge and interests, I suspect that they did better that later generations. Some of the dimmest women I know have received dim degrees from dim 'universities' and might just as well be typists.