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<strong>Hyde Park Gate News: the Stephen family newspaper</strong>

edited by Gill Lowe <em>Hesperu

The original manuscripts of the newspaper written by the young Virginia Woolf and her siblings are published here for the first time. Through the second marriages of their parents, Julia and Leslie Stephen, a total of three families created the sprawling late Victorian family of 22 Hyde Park Gate, whose comings and goings are documented by the paper.

Despite enduring a childhood riddled with untold difficulties and death, the Stephens' publication does not delve into these issues, but exists solely to entertain the reader. Highly literate upper-middle-class children they may be, but an underlying cheekiness is present throughout the juvenilia; jokes, advice and satirical stories are written alongside spoof correspondence columns. A mock love letter reads: "I love you with the fervent passion that my father regards roast beef."

The children eloquently transcribe an 1890s-style childhood, from pets and pantomimes in the city to boating at their holiday retreat, "the paternal mansion" in St Ives.

From the "usual buffoonery" of 1 April to Leslie Stephen’s appointment as Doctor of Letters at Cambridge, all the minute details of childhood are viewed through the eyes of the young Stephens.