Literary Nostalgia

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I took my mum to the theatre last week to see The Railway Children. Penned by E. Nesbit, it’s a wonderfully nostalgic tale that follows the lives of 3 siblings – Bobbie, Phyllis and Peter, who move to the countryside following the sudden departure of their father. It’s later revealed that he’s been wrongly imprisoned back in London for fraud, leaving the family far poorer than the comfortable lives they led in the city. The move takes them to a lovely cottage beside the railway and it’s here that they encounter many an adventure and form lasting friendships.

To me, The Railway Children epitomises children’s literature with its adventure, love and family values, reminding me of my own childhood memories. As I child you remember these times and tales so vividly. Tales of adventure, love, rivalry, retribution and wonderful imagination. 

the railway children

So watching the station master, Mr Perks brought to life on the stage, together with the clever use of model trains and an effective smoke machine, it got me thinking about childhood and the importance of the memories we hold so dear surrounding it.

There’s always the worry that a new adaptation or retelling of your favourite story will unhinge your own personal memories of it. For even into our adult lives, music, films, poems and books have the ability to evoke such happy, or sad, memories that they become synonymous of those years we spent growing up. The really good ones somehow manage to surpass generations – even if they were written more than hundred years ago – but no matter what, we still remember and enjoy them all these years later because of the association and nostalgia they hold.

I often wonder if Minions, or new characters including Elsa and Dora, will be remembered with the same fondness as those created all those decades ago. But perhaps it’s a case of who you grew up with, that will determine who you will always remember and introduce to your own children one day.

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