Juvenilia is the name given to creative work produced by recognized authors and artists when they were children and young adults. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was a fruitful time for juvenilia, especially that of writers. Jane Austen, the Brontë family, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, amongst others, among others, wrote extensively when they were young. Many of their manuscripts have survived, and a few are available on the Internet.
The childhood and adolescent creative work of authors who became famous provides interesting comparison with the work of children and students we know in our lives. As editors of Stone Soup we have published extraordinary work by young writers, work that compares favorably with the best juvenilia. What makes writers, though, is not what they write as children and teenagers, but that they keep on telling stories throughout their lives.
The juvenilia you will find on the Internet, in your local libraries and in the creative work publish in the pages of Stone Soup will provide entertainment for yourself, for your children, and for your students. And remember, after getting lost in the world of Jane Austen and the Brontë family, come back to us for the latest and most wonderful work by young people, being written today!
To get you started on your journey through juvenilia, we have pulled together some links for you below. If you are interested in the original manuscripts, many of them tiny, handmade and handwritten books belonging to the authors, the British Library web pages have some excellent images and short articles of and about them.
Jane Austen (1775-1817)
Frederick and Elfrida, circa 1788, age 12-14
The Three Sisters, circa 1790, age 15-16
You can read more about Jane Austen’s juvenilia, and see images of some of her original hand-written notebooks, at the British Library website.
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), Emily Brontë (1818-1848), Ann Brontë (1820-1849), (and Bramwell Brontë, 1817-1848)
The young sisters and their brother created entire imaginary worlds–such as Emily’s Gondal and Bramwell’s Angria– which they wrote about prolifically in their youth, and produced tiny handwritten newspapers and magazines for themselves.
The Brontë Sisters Web by Mitsuharu Matsuoka
More links from Great Britain about the Brontës
There are notes about and images of the Brontës’ notebooks, and an interesting video of a discussion about the Brontës’ juvenilia (in which experts handle the tiny original materials), at the British Library website.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
Poems written around 1843, age 14-15