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American Childhood: Essays on Children's Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Paperback)
  • American Childhood: Essays on Children's Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Paperback)
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American Childhood: Essays on Children's Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Paperback)

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£24.50
Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 31/10/1995
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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 thereestablishment (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 seri

Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 9780820318035
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 216 x 139 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

MacLeod has written some of the most intelligent criticism of children's literature in the last two decades--including the fourteen graceful essays collected here.--"American Literature"


MacLeod is an informed and empathetic historian and cultural critic. . . . Underlying the keenly analytic essays is MacLeod's own implicit morality--her pervasive tone of kindliness, of responsibility, of concern for the children. While not overtly polemical, MacLeod's essays are instructive to the adult reader as lessons in perception and in imaginative empathy.--"Horn Book Magazine"


MacLeod has written some of the most intelligent criticism of children's literature in the last two decades--including the fourteen graceful essays collected here.

--American Literature

MacLeod is an informed and empathetic historian and cultural critic. . . . Underlying the keenly analytic essays is MacLeod's own implicit morality--her pervasive tone of kindliness, of responsibility, of concern for the children. While not overtly polemical, MacLeod's essays are instructive to the adult reader as lessons in perception and in imaginative empathy.

--Horn Book Magazine

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