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Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter

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Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ever since children have learned to read, there has been children's literature. Its history is inseparable from the history of childhood, as children are indelibly molded by the tales they hear and read — stories they will one day share with their own sons and daughters.

Children's Literature charts the makings of the Western literary imagination from Aesop's fables to Mother Goose, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Peter Pan, from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter. Seth Lerer here explores the iconic books, ancient and contemporary alike, that have forged a lifelong love of literature in young readers during their formative years. Along the way, Lerer also looks at the changing environments of family life and human growth, schooling and scholarship, and publishing and politics in which children found themselves changed by the books they read. This ambitious work appraises a broad trajectory of influences — including Shakespeare's plays, John Locke's theories of education, Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and the Puritan tradition — which have each shaped children's literature through the ages as well.

The only single-volume work to capture the rich and diverse history of children's literature in its full panorama, this extraordinary book reveals why J. R. R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Shel Silverstein, and many others, despite their divergent styles and subject matter, have all resonated with generations of readers. Children's Literature is an exhilarating quest across centuries, continents, and genres to discover how, and why, we first fall in love with the written word.

Review:

"'Children are Strangers in the World,' wrote the 18th-century educator John Clarke. These foreigners arrive among adults, he insists, eager to 'store the yet empty Cabinet of the Mind with a variety of Ideas.' The history of children's literature is blessed and plagued by adults debating the extent of their responsibility to these small strangers. Two excellent new books explore the history of children's... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Lerer has accomplished something magical....Scholarly, erudite, and all but exhaustive, it is also entertaining and accessible. Lerer takes his subject seriously without making it dull." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Lerer's history reminds us of the wealth of literature written during the past 2,600 years....With his vast and multidimensional knowledge of literature, he underscores the vital role it plays in forming a child's imagination. We are made, he suggests, by the books we read." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"There is hardly a children's classic, from Robinson Crusoe to Where the Wild Things Are to pop-up books, which [Lerer] does not discuss with sympathy and wit." New York Sun

Synopsis:

Ever since children have learned to read, there has been childrens literature. Childrens Literature charts the makings of the Western literary imagination from Aesops fables to Mother Goose, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Peter Pan, from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter.

 

The only single-volume work to capture the rich and diverse history of childrens literature in its full panorama, this extraordinary book reveals why J. R. R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, and many others, despite their divergent styles and subject matter, have all resonated with generations of readers. Childrens Literature is an exhilarating quest across centuries, continents, and genres to discover how, and why, we first fall in love with the written word.

 

“Lerer has accomplished something magical. Unlike the many handbooks to childrens literature that synopsize, evaluate, or otherwise guide adults in the selection of materials for children, this work presents a true critical history of the genre. . . . Scholarly, erudite, and all but exhaustive, it is also entertaining and accessible. Lerer takes his subject seriously without making it dull.”—Library Journal (starred review)

 

“Lerers history reminds us of the wealth of literature written during the past 2,600 years. . . . With his vast and multidimensional knowledge of literature, he underscores the vital role it plays in forming a childs imagination. We are made, he suggests, by the books we read.”—San Francisco Chronicle

 

“There are dazzling chapters on John Locke and Empire, and nonsense, and Darwin, but Lerers most interesting chapter focuses on girls fiction. . . . A brilliant series of readings.”—Diane Purkiss, Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Seth Lerer is the Avalon Foundation Professor in Humanities and professor of English and comparative literature at Stanford University. He is the author of many previous books, including Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language, and the editor of several collections, including The Yale Companion to Chaucer.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction            Toward a New History of Childrens Literature

Chapter One          Speak, Child: Childrens Literature in Classical Antiquity

Chapter Two          Ingenuity and Authority: Aesops Fables and Their Afterlives 

Chapter Three        Court, Commerce, and Cloister: The Literatures of Medieval Childhood

Chapter Four          From Alphabet to Elegy: The Puritan Impact on Childrens Literature

Chapter Five          Playthings of the Mind: John Locke and Childrens Literature 

Chapter Six            Canoes and Cannibals: Robinson Crusoe and Its Legacies                         

Chapter Seven        From Islands to Empires: Storytelling for a Boys World

Chapter Eight         On beyond Darwin: From Kingsley to Seuss

Chapter Nine          Ill-Tempered and Queer: Sense and Nonsense, from Victorian to Modern

Chapter Ten           Straw into Gold: Fairy-Tale Philology

Chapter Eleven       Theaters of Girlhood: Domesticity, Desire, and Performance in Female Fiction

Chapter Twelve      Pan in the Garden: The Edwardian Turn in Childrens Literature

Chapter Thirteen     Good Feeling: Prizes, Libraries, and the Institutions of American Childrens Literature

Chapter Fourteen   Keeping Things Straight: Style and the Child

Chapter Fifteen       Tap Your Pencil on the Paper: Childrens Literature in an Ironic Age

Epilogue                 Childrens Literature and the History of the Book

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226473000
Author:
Lerer, Seth
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
Children's Literature
Subject:
Children's Literature - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
History and criticism
Subject:
Children's literature -- History and criticism.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
June 15, 2008
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 halftones
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Education » Children's Literature
History and Social Science » Literary History » General
History and Social Science » Literary History » Literary Interviews
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages University Of Chicago Press - English 9780226473000 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Lerer has accomplished something magical....Scholarly, erudite, and all but exhaustive, it is also entertaining and accessible. Lerer takes his subject seriously without making it dull."
"Review" by , "Lerer's history reminds us of the wealth of literature written during the past 2,600 years....With his vast and multidimensional knowledge of literature, he underscores the vital role it plays in forming a child's imagination. We are made, he suggests, by the books we read."
"Review" by , "There is hardly a children's classic, from Robinson Crusoe to Where the Wild Things Are to pop-up books, which [Lerer] does not discuss with sympathy and wit."
"Synopsis" by ,

Ever since children have learned to read, there has been childrens literature. Childrens Literature charts the makings of the Western literary imagination from Aesops fables to Mother Goose, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Peter Pan, from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter.

 

The only single-volume work to capture the rich and diverse history of childrens literature in its full panorama, this extraordinary book reveals why J. R. R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, and many others, despite their divergent styles and subject matter, have all resonated with generations of readers. Childrens Literature is an exhilarating quest across centuries, continents, and genres to discover how, and why, we first fall in love with the written word.

 

“Lerer has accomplished something magical. Unlike the many handbooks to childrens literature that synopsize, evaluate, or otherwise guide adults in the selection of materials for children, this work presents a true critical history of the genre. . . . Scholarly, erudite, and all but exhaustive, it is also entertaining and accessible. Lerer takes his subject seriously without making it dull.”—Library Journal (starred review)

 

“Lerers history reminds us of the wealth of literature written during the past 2,600 years. . . . With his vast and multidimensional knowledge of literature, he underscores the vital role it plays in forming a childs imagination. We are made, he suggests, by the books we read.”—San Francisco Chronicle

 

“There are dazzling chapters on John Locke and Empire, and nonsense, and Darwin, but Lerers most interesting chapter focuses on girls fiction. . . . A brilliant series of readings.”—Diane Purkiss, Times Literary Supplement

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