Romanticism and Children's Literature in Nineteenth-Century England
PUBLISHER: University of Georgia Press
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In England at the turn of the nineteenth century, the advent of Romanticism coincided with major changes in ideas about children and childhood, eventually resulting in a great flowering of imaginative children's literature. In contrast to the previous century's stern moral tales, children's books began to appeal to the unsullied powers of perception, cognition, and creativity thought by the Romantics to reside in pre-adolescents, and also to the anxieties of adults who longed to reclaim their own lost childhood selves.
These essays document and examine the transformation of children's literature during the Romantic period, and trace Romanticism's influence on Victorian children's literature. Using a variety of critical approaches, including neo-historicist, feminist, mythic, reader-response, and formalist, the contributors challenge established dichotomies in children's literature regarding morality and imagination. Rather, as they demonstrate, a complex interplay of instruction and delight ran throughout nineteenth-century texts for and about children. In addition, they document some of the ways the child was perceived and interpreted, secularized and spiritualized, by such writers as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Mrs. Sherwood, Hesba Stretton (Sarah Smith), Juliana Ewing, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and E. Nesbit.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/1/2009
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism, Social Science