1st Edition

Children’s Vegetarian Culture in the Victorian Era The Juvenile Food Reformers Press and Literary Change

By Marzena Kubisz Copyright 2025
    190 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book fills a unique gap in the research on the cultural history of vegetarianism and veganism, children's literature and Victorian periodicals, and it is the first publication to systematically describe the phenomenon of Victorian children’s vegetarianism and its representations in literature and culture.

    Situated in the broad socio-literary context spanning the late 19th century and early 20th century, the book lays the groundwork for contemporary children’s vegan literature and argues that present ethical and environmental concerns can be traced back to the Victorian period. Following the current turn in contemporary research on children, their experience, and their voices, the author examines children’s vegetarian culture through the prism of the periodicals aimed directly at them. It analyses how vegetarian principles were communicated to children and listens to the voices of children who were vegetarians, and who tested their newly formed identity in the pages of three magazines published between 1893 and 1914: The Daisy Basket, The Children’s Garden and The Children’s Realm.

    This book will appeal to the growing body of researchers interested in the social, cultural and literary aspects of vegetarianism and veganism, human-animal relations, childhood studies, children’s literature, periodical studies and Victorian studies.

    Introduction: Victorian Meatless Childhood: Mapping the White Spots 

    Chapter 1. The Stepping Stones of “Another Order”: Vegetarian Childhood in Early Victorian Discourse and Literary Representation 

    Chapter 2. The Rise of the Young Vegetarian Subject: The Daisy Basket 

    Chapter 3. Vegetarian Children’s Press in the Early Twentieth Century: The Children’s Garden and The Children’s Realm 

    Chapter 4. Animal Welfare and Children’s Literary Culture: Butchers and Beam Princesses at the Service of the Vegetarian Cause 

    Chapter 5. Children’s Voices from the Vegetarian Past: Personal Narratives and Self-reflection of Young Food Reformers 

    Conclusions: The Meatless Childhood Project: Between a Mission and a Crusade


    Marzena Kubisz is an Associate Professor in literary studies in the Institute of Literary Studies, University of Silesia, Poland. Her academic interests are in children’s literature, resistance studies, slow culture, animal studies and vegan studies. Marzena’s research focuses on everyday resistance in terms of its corporeal dimensions and cultural acceleration. Her publications in vegan studies include essays about vegan bodies, representations of veganism in film and the place of vegan studies in academia. Recently, she has published a chapter on vegan literature for children in The Routledge Handbook of Vegan Studies (2021). She is an organiser of Polish annual vegan studies seminars and an Associate Editor of the Polish academic journal Er(r)go. Theory-Literature-Culture (www.errgo.pl).