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Childhood and the Classics: Britain and America, 1850-1965 (Sheila Murnaghan) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2018) 9780199583478
Childhood and the Classics: Britain and America, 1850-1965 (Sheila Murnaghan) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2018) 9780199583478
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Title: Childhood and the Classics: Britain and America, 1850-1965

Author: Murnaghan, Sheila

Additional Authors or Contributors: Deborah H. Roberts

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2018

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780199583478

Volumes: 1; Pages: 352

List Price in Hardcover: $105.00 Our price: $83.99

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The dissemination of classical material to children has long been a major form of popularization with far-reaching effects, although until very recently it has received almost no attention within the growing field of classical reception studies. This volume explores the ways in which children encountered the world of ancient Greece and Rome in Britain and the United States over a century-long period beginning in the 1850s, as well as adults' literary responses to their own childhood encounters with antiquity. Rather than discussing the role of classics in education, it focuses on books read for enjoyment, and on two genres of children's literature in particular: the myth collection and the historical novel. The tradition of myths retold as children's stories is traced in the work of writers and illustrators from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Kingsley to Roger Lancelyn Green and Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire, while the discussion of historical fiction focuses particularly on the roles of nationality and gender in the construction of an ancient world for modern children. The book concludes with an investigation of the connections between childhood and antiquity made by writers for adults, including James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and H.D. Recognition of the fundamental role in children's literature of adults' ideas about what children want or need is balanced throughout by attention to the ways in which child readers have made such works their own. The formative experiences of antiquity discussed throughout help to explain why despite growing uncertainty about the appeal of antiquity to modern children, the classical past remains perennially interesting and inspiring.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


1. "Very Capital Reading for Children": Hawthorne, Kingsley, and the Transformation of Myth into Children's Literature

2. Classics in their Own Right: Visions and Revisions of Hawthorne and Kingsley

3. "Steeped in Greek Mythology": The First Half of the Twentieth Century

4. "Be a Roman Soldier": History, Historical Fiction, and National Identity

5. Ancient History for Girls

6. The Ancient Prehistory of Modern Adults

7. Pan in the Alps: Child and Adult in H.D.'s The Hedgehog

8. Epilogue




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