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American childhood : essays on children's literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Author: Anne Scott MacLeod
Publisher: Athens : University of Georgia Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In this collection of fourteen essays, Anne Scott MacLeod locates and describes shifts in the American concept of childhood as those changes are suggested in nearly two centuries of children's stories. A social historian and literary critic of genuine insight, MacLeod has helped to pioneer an approach to American culture through the children's literature that arises from it: "When I read books written for children,"  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Anne Scott MacLeod
ISBN: 0820315516 9780820315515
OCLC Number: 27220282
Description: x, 242 p. ; 23 cm.
Contents: American girlhood in the nineteenth century : Caddie Woodlawn's sisters --
Nancy Drew and her rivals : no contest --
Girls' novels in post-World War II America --
Bad boys : Tom Bailey and Tom Sawyer --
Good democrats : Ragged Dick and Little Lord Fauntleroy --
Children's literature for a new nation, 1820-1860 --
Child and conscience --
Children, adults, and reading at the turn of the century --
Images : American children in the early nineteenth century --
The children of children's literature in the nineteenth century --
Family stories, 1920- 1940 --
Censorship and children's literature --
Ice axes : Robert Cormier and the adolescent novel --
The transformation of childhood in twentieth-century children's literature.
Responsibility: Anne Scott MacLeod.

Abstract:

This is a collection of 14 essays locating and describing shifts in the American concept of childhood as those changes are suggested in nearly two centuries of children's stories.  Read more...

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schema:description"-- Ice axes : Robert Cormier and the adolescent novel -- The transformation of childhood in twentieth-century children's literature."@en
schema:description"American girlhood in the nineteenth century : Caddie Woodlawn's sisters -- Nancy Drew and her rivals : no contest -- Girls' novels in post-World War II America -- Bad boys : Tom Bailey and Tom Sawyer -- Good democrats : Ragged Dick and Little Lord Fauntleroy -- Children's literature for a new nation, 1820-1860 -- Child and conscience -- Children, adults, and reading at the turn of the century -- Images : American children in the early nineteenth century -- The children of children's literature in the nineteenth century -- Family stories, 1920- 1940 -- Censorship and children's literature"@en
schema:description"In this collection of fourteen essays, Anne Scott MacLeod locates and describes shifts in the American concept of childhood as those changes are suggested in nearly two centuries of children's stories. A social historian and literary critic of genuine insight, MacLeod has helped to pioneer an approach to American culture through the children's literature that arises from it: "When I read books written for children," MacLeod comments in her preface, "I look for author's views, certainly, but I also try to discover what the culture is saying about itself, about the present and the future, and about the nature and purposes of childhood....Children's books don't mirror their culture, but they do always, no matter how indirectly, convey some of its central truths." Most of the essays concern domestic novels for children - stories set more or less in the time of their publication and meant for adolescent and teen readers. Some essays also draw creatively on childhood memoirs, travel writings that contain foreigners' observations of American children, and other studies of children's literature. MacLeod looks beyond the books to their unwritten subtexts - to the interplay between writers' adherence to conventions, their own memories of youth, and their adult concerns. She probes as well the tension between the literal, superficial images and themes of the stories and the realities of the surrounding culture. Beading across historical periods, MacLeod traces changes in our attitudes toward children and shows how they have paralleled or departed from the characteristic tone of each era. The topics on which she writes range from the recently politicized marketplace for children's books to the reestablishment (and reconfiguration) of the family in the latest children's fiction to the ways that literature challenges or enforces the idealization of children. MacLeod sometimes considers a single author's canon, as when she discusses the feminism of the Nancy Drew mystery series or the Orwellian vision of Robert Cormier. At other times, she looks at a variety of works within a particular period, for example, Jacksonian America, the post-World War II decade, or the 1970s. MacLeod examines anew books that she feels have been too quickly dismissed - the Horatio Alger stories, for example - and finds fresh, intriguing ways to view the work of such well-known writers as Louisa May Alcott, Beverly Cleary, and Paul Zindel. Five of the essays in American Childhood have never before been published; four of the remaining essays have been substantially revised and expanded since they first appeared. All are a testament to the revelatory powers of children's literature and to our deep emotional investment in young people."@en
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