By Marah Gubar
During this groundbreaking contribution to Victorian and kid's literature reviews, Marah Gubar proposes a primary reconception of the nineteenth-century perspective towards adolescence. The ideology of innocence used to be a lot slower to unfold than we expect, she contends, and the folk whom we think have been so much dedicated to it--children's authors and participants of the notorious "cult of the child"--were really deeply ambivalent approximately this Romantic idea. instead of wholeheartedly selling a static perfect of formative years purity, Golden Age kid's authors usually represent youth as collaborators who're stuck up within the constraints of the tradition they inhabit, and but no longer unavoidably victimized due to this touch with adults and their international. Such nuanced meditations at the vexed factor of the kid's organisation, Gubar indicates, might help modern students to generate extra versatile serious methods to the examine of adolescence and kid's literature.
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Extra resources for Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children's Literature
Although Grahame declared that his intended audience for The Wind in the Willows was mainly children, he nevertheless did not feel the need to cleanse his prose of contemporary and classical allusions; stylistically, The Wind in the Willows has a great deal in common with The Golden Age (1895), his earlier attempt to write about childhood for an adult audience. No wonder, then, that reviewers committed to conceiving of the child as an unpolluted origin strenuously objected to Grahame’s work; not only does he refuse to address young people in specially simpliﬁed prose that would make his work instantly identiﬁable as “children’s” literature, his representation of child characters likewise blurs the line between child and adult, innocence and experience.
R. James (45). In other words, Thackeray’s fairy tale presupposes the presence of well-read, socialized, and sophisticated child readers. Indeed, as U. C. Knoepﬂmacher observes, the mocking humor that pervades The Rose and the Ring makes it tonally quite similar to Vanity Fair: in keeping with his practice of regarding “children and grown-ups as travelers on different stretches of the selfsame road,” Thackeray explicitly aims his Christmas book at a mixed audience of children and adults, treating the young as “incipient fellow-ironists” (Ventures 86–87).
Unhappy in general with the way “modern” children’s literature is developing, Roscoe urges children’s authors to eschew complex characters, ambiguity, and intellectual humor because “subtleties are lost upon a child” and “you must be quaint, not witty, to please him” (25). 17 Roscoe was right to suspect that Ruskin’s attitude toward young people did not align neatly with this stance. Himself a highly precocious child, Ruskin was drawn to similarly accomplished youngsters, such as Rose La Touche, who from an early age “had chosen all knowledge for her province, and was an admirable scholar.