Literature for Children in the 19th Century

897 words 4 pages
Literature for children in the 19th century

Since the view of childhood changes in the nineteenth century, the potential of children’s literature becomes evident. With the reference to the sources of children’s literature, they can be traced back to alterations in translation and in the literature for adults, where a child or childhood are essential concepts; moreover folk literature is concerned to be a wide source for this literary genre. According to Peter Hunt

Children before the seventeenth century shared narrative, whether oral or through chapbooks, with adults. The first widely distributed texts for children were by puritan writers; in the mid-eighteenth century books began to be produced commercially, usually with an
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The adventure stories often show the growing up of young boys. Moreover, boys can test themeselves and learn to become part of the larger world. “Robinson Crusoe provides the model of the brave Englishman setting out into the world, surviving harsh conditions and savage natives, in order to win land, wealth for Britain and for himself” (Lewis C. Roberts, 2002: 364). What is more, these books describe such qualities as courage, determination and vigor, often thought to be appropriate to male. Literature for girls bringing up home and family issues, outlines the role of women in society as well as the role of religion in the home. Moreover the nineteenth century literature focused on social matters and the maturation of girls into women. This aspect Lewis C. Roberts described in this way:

Whereas school stories involved the separation of their child heros from home life, domestic fictions placed their young heroines wholly within the context of home and family, often suggesting that girls must (gladly) give up certain opportunities and interests in order to become wives and mothers. Domestic fiction, like adventure fiction, was heavily gendered in terms of its audience, and such gender orientations acculturated child readers to the separate, gendered spheres of public and private, work and home (2002:365).

Despite such a strong division in the literature examples of children's books more or


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