2 thoughts on “Selective history in Geoffrey Trease’s The Crown of Violet

  1. Although his adult novels are the ones remembered now, Henry Treece did write some children’s books. The only thing I remember from Trease is a book set in Elizabethan England where the heroine disguises herself as a boy-player in Shakespeare’s theatre – a rip-off from Brahms and Simon’s No Bed for Bacon.

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  2. I read both The Crown of Violet and The Hills of Varna, though possibly not in that order, when I was a boy. Both books and Cue for Treason, the Elizabethan book mentioned by Roger, feature strong female characters. As I recall, Trease was able to justify the female character in Varna, with examples of women benefiting from university education in Renaissance Italy. On the evidence of 3 books, it may be that Trease had an interest in making his female characters match up to their male equivalents. He clearly had egalitarian views – his first book, Bows Against the Barons, is reportedly a socialist novel about Robin Hood. I think soft Marxist is a very accurate description. Cue for Treason, incidentally, was published in 1940 and No Bed for Bacon in 1941 – well, so Wikipedia says! As for the other soft Marxist – Naomi Mitchison wrote a children’s novel called The Land the Ravens Found. This concerned the historical figure Aud the Deep Minded, who upped sticks from Scotland and settled in Iceland in the 9th century. Not so much socialism as a desire to be independent of any authority. A kind of soft anarchism. What I would make of it now, I’m not at all sure but I loved the book as a child.

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