In this groundbreaking book, Ken Parille seeks to do for nineteenth-century boys what the past three decades of scholarship have done for girls: show how the complexities of the fiction and educational materials written about them reflect the lives they lived. While most studies of nineteenth-century boyhood have focused on post-Civil War male novelists, Parille explores a broader archive of writings by male and female authors, extending from 1830-1885.
Boys at Home offers a series of arguments about five pedagogical modes: play-adventure, corporal punishment, sympathy, shame, and reading. The first chapter demonstrates that, rather than encouraging boys to escape the bonds of domesticity, scenes of play in boys’ novels reproduce values associated with the home. Chapter 2 argues that debates about corporal punishment are crucial sources for the culture’s ideas about gender difference and pedagogical practice. In chapter 3, “The Medicine of Sympathy,” Parille examines the affective nature of mother-daughter and mother-son bonds, emphasizing the special difficulties that “boy-nature” posed for women. The fourth chapter uses boys’ conduct literature and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – the preeminent chronicle of girlhood in the century – to investigate not only Alcott’s fictional representations of shame-centered discipline but also pervasive cultural narratives about what it means to “be a man.” Focusing on works by Lydia Sigourney and Francis Forrester, the final chapter considers arguments about the effects that fictional, historical, and biographical narratives had on a boy’s sense of himself and his masculinity.
Boys at Home is an important contribution to the emerging field of masculinity studies. In addition, this provocative volume brings new insight to the study of childhood, women’s writing, and American culture.
Ken Parille is assistant professor of English at East Carolina University. His articles have appeared in Children’s Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Papers on Language and Literature, and Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.
Throughout American literature, the figure of the child is often represented in opposition to the adult. In Cradle of Liberty Caroline F. Levander proposes that this opposition is crucial to American political thought and the literary cultures that surround and help produce it. Levander argues that from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth, American literary and political texts did more than include child subjects: they depended on them to represent, naturalize, and, at times, attempt to reconfigure the ground rules of U.S. national belonging. She demonstrates how, as the modern nation-state and the modern concept of the child (as someone fundamentally different from the adult) emerged in tandem from the late eighteenth century forward, the child and the nation-state became intertwined. The child came to represent nationalism, nation-building, and the intrinsic connection between nationalism and race that was instrumental in creating a culture of white supremacy in the United States.
Reading texts by John Adams, Thomas Paine, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Augusta J. Evans, Mark Twain, Pauline Hopkins, William James, José Martí, W. E. B. Du Bois, and others, Levander traces the child as it figures in writing about several defining events for the United States. Among these are the Revolutionary War, the U.S.-Mexican War, the Civil War, and the U.S. expulsion of Spain from the Caribbean and Cuba. She charts how the child crystallized the concept of self—a self who could affiliate with the nation—in the early national period, and then follows the child through the rise of a school of American psychology and the period of imperialism. Demonstrating that textual representations of the child have been a potent force in shaping public opinion about race, slavery, exceptionalism, and imperialism, Cradle of Liberty shows how a powerful racial logic pervades structures of liberal democracy in the United States.
Although we know him as one of the greatest English poets, William Wordsworth might not have become a poet at all without the experience of personal and historical catastrophe in his youth. In Disowned by Memory, David Bromwich connects the accidents of Wordsworth's life with the originality of his writing, showing how the poet's strong sympathy with the political idealism of the age and with the lives of the outcast and the dispossessed formed the deepest motive of his writings of the 1790s.
"This very Wordsworthian combination of apparently low subjects with extraordinary 'high argument' makes for very rewarding, though often challenging reading."—Kenneth R. Johnston, Washington Times
"Wordsworth emerges from this short and finely written book as even stranger than we had thought, and even more urgently our contemporary."—Grevel Lindop, Times Literary Supplement
"[Bromwich's] critical interpretations of the poetry itself offer readers unusual insights into Wordworth's life and work."—Library Journal
"An added benefit of this book is that it restores our faith that criticism can actually speak to our needs. Bromwich is a rigorous critic, but he is a general one whose insights are broadly applicable. It's an intellectual pleasure to rise to his complexities."—Vijay Seshadri, New York Times Book Review
Many of today's Dutch writers were children during World War II. Even today, the traumatic childhood experience of enemy occupation is still central to the work of many of them. This interest cuts across the traditional boundaries between fiction, autobiography and the literature of trauma and recovery. A Family Occupation is the first English-language introduction to Dutch-language texts written by and about the 'Children of the War' and their cultural context. Their themes and literary conventions throw an interesting light on the Dutch approach to issues such as guilt and innocence, memory and narrative, national identity, child abuse and victimhood.
Children’s literature has spent decades on the psychiatrist’s couch, submitting to psychoanalysis by scores of scholars and popular writers alike. Freud in Oz turns the tables, suggesting that psychoanalysts owe a significant and largely unacknowledged debt to books ostensibly written for children. In fact, Kenneth B. Kidd argues, children’s literature and psychoanalysis have influenced and interacted with each other since Freud published his first case studies.
In Freud in Oz, Kidd shows how psychoanalysis developed in part through its engagement with children’s literature, which it used to articulate and dramatize its themes and methods, turning first to folklore and fairy tales, then to materials from psychoanalysis of children, and thence to children’s literary texts, especially such classic fantasies as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He traces how children’s literature, and critical response to it, aided the popularization of psychoanalytic theory. With increasing acceptance of psychoanalysis came two new genres of children’s literature—known today as picture books and young adult novels—that were frequently fashioned as psychological in their forms and functions.
Freud in Oz offers a history of reigning theories in the study of children’s literature and psychoanalysis, providing fresh insights on a diversity of topics, including the view that Maurice Sendak and Bruno Bettelheim can be thought of as rivals, that Sendak’s makeover of monstrosity helped lead to the likes of the Muppets, and that “Poohology” is its own kind of literary criticism—serving up Winnie the Pooh as the poster bear for theorists of widely varying stripes.
In response to widespread cultural fantasies about the child--including childhood innocence, the child as origin of the adult, the fetal emergence of subjectivity, and the "inner child" movement--Hide and Seek examines representations of the child in fiction, psychoanalysis, and popular culture.
Concentrating on the "go-between" function of the child in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and British fiction, Virginia Blum shows how selected children in the works of L. P. Hartley, Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov were actually fictional messengers who ultimately were unsuccessful at reconciling impasses in the adult world.
Throughout her book Blum draws on pop images of real and fictional children, ranging from the Baby Jessica case, in which the idea of "real" paternity and family bonds comes to the mythic fore, to the film Home Alone, in which the abandoned child becomes protector of his family's hearth and home. Hide and Seek raises provocative questions about the ways in which our culture fetishizes the idea of the child at the same time that we treat with comparative indifference the conditions under which many real children actually live.
"A work of striking originality and consistent intellectual honesty, forcing us into genuinely profound and darkly uncomfortable areas of speculation." -- James R. Kincaid, author of Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture
"A brilliant and daring book on how art reveals life, how it illuminates childhood beyond what the sciences of development can tell us."
---Jerome Bruner, University Professor, New York University
"Combining the surgical precision of a psychoanalytically informed critic with the oracular eloquence of a brilliant close reader, Ellen Handler Spitz reads our cultural fortunes about childhood and parenting through works of art. Moving us (in both senses of the term) from the serene plenitude of Piero della Francesca's Madonna of Childbirth to the unsparing horror of Lessing's Fifth Child, she reveals just how powerfully art puts us in touch with the pulsing energies of real life."
---Maria Tatar, John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
"Illuminating Childhood is a wonderfully well-written and researched interdisciplinary study of childhood in various media and mediums as well as through ethnicity, race, gender, cultures, and time."
---T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Distinguished Professor of French and Director of African American and Diaspora Studies, Vanderbilt University
While literature and the arts are rarely considered primary sources for knowledge about human motivation and behavior, people read novels, attend movies, watch television, and go to the theater not solely to be entertained but also to learn about one another and about themselves. Illuminating Childhood formalizes this quest for psychological knowledge in the domain of the arts.
Starting with the premise that a gifted writer, artist, or filmmaker has the ability to teach us as much in one scene as a theorist can in a treatise or a therapist in a session, the author shares her intimate experience of eight thematically linked works in film and literature from the second half of the twentieth century, touching on issues central to parent-child relations, including toxic intrafamilial secrets, the disjunction between love and understanding, and the lasting impact of deceased parents on their children. While the canon of literature about children and parent-child relations includes books that identify problems, propose solutions, and present statistical data, Illuminating Childhood offers a living out of experience via the arts, written for a general audience---parents, teachers, mental health professionals, those who engage with their students via the arts of literature and film, and others.
Ellen Handler Spitz holds the Honors College Professorship of Visual Arts at the University of Maryland. She is the author of a number of books on art, psychology, and imagery, including The Brightening Glance: Imagination and Childhood. Her abiding research interests are the cultural lives of young people; the relations between aesthetics and psychology; and the interconnections among literature, music, dance, and the visual arts.
Images of the Child
Harry Eiss University of Wisconsin Press, 1994 Library of Congress HQ784.M3I48 1994
This collection of articles on images of the child offers an excellent range of perspectives on an equally wide range of concerns, including advertising, girls' book series, rap music, realistic fiction, games, dolls, violence, and movies. Taken together as a book, this collection confirms the complexity of the world of childhood, and demonstrates how strongly images of the child reflect the entire culture.
Histories and criticism of comics note that comic strips published in the Progressive Era were dynamic spaces in which anxieties about race, ethnicity, class, and gender were expressed, perpetuated, and alleviated. The proliferation of comic strip children—white and nonwhite, middle-class and lower class, male and female—suggests that childhood was a subject that fascinated and preoccupied Americans at the turn of the century. Many of these strips, including R.F. Outcault’s Hogan’s Alley and Buster Brown, Rudolph Dirks’s The Katzenjammer Kids and Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland were headlined by child characters. Yet no major study has explored the significance of these verbal-visual representations of childhood. Incorrigibles and Innocents addresses this gap in scholarship, examining the ways childhood was depicted and theorized in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century comic strips. Drawing from and building on histories and theories of childhood, comics, and Progressive Era conceptualizations of citizenship and nationhood, Lara Saguisag demonstrates that child characters in comic strips expressed and complicated contemporary notions of who had a right to claim membership in a modernizing, expanding nation.
The Other Henry James
John Carlos Rowe Duke University Press, 1998 Library of Congress PS2127.P6R69 1998 | Dewey Decimal 813.4
In The Other Henry James, John Carlos Rowe offers a new vision of Henry James as a social critic whose later works can now be read as rich with homoerotic suggestiveness. Drawing from recent work in queer and feminist theory, Rowe argues that the most fruitful approach to James today is one that ignores the elitist portrait of the formalist master in favor of the writer as a vulnerable critic of his own confused and repressive historical moment. Rowe traces a particular development in James’s work, showing how in his early writings James criticized women’s rights, same-sex relations, and other social and political trends now identified with modern culture; how he ambivalently explored these aspects of modernity in his writings of the 1880s; and, later, how he increasingly identified with such modernity in his heretofore largely ignored or marginally treated fiction of the 1890s. Building on recent scholarship that has shown James to be more anxious about gender roles, more conflicted, and more marginal a figure than previously thought, Rowe argues that James—through his treatment of women, children, and gays—indicts the values and conventions of the bourgeoisie. He shows how James confronts social changes in gender roles, sexual preferences, national affiliations, and racial and ethnic identifications in such important novels as The American, The Tragic Muse, What Maisie Knew, and In the Cage, and in such neglected short fiction as “The Last of the Valerii,” “The Death of the Lion,” and “The Middle Years.” Positioning James’s work within an interpretive context that pits the social and political anxieties of his day against the imperatives of an aesthetic ideology, The Other Henry James will engage scholars, students, and teachers of American literature and culture, gay literature, and queer theory.
It is now two and a half centuries since Jean-Jacques Rousseau first wrote so evocatively of natural man in Social Contract and of experiential education in Emile. His emphasis on the early years as a crucial part of life drove the Romantic reconceptualization of childhood—the idea that children have a special knowledge of nature, politics, and spirituality to teach their elders as well as the other way around. William Wordsworth’s assertion in the “Intimations Ode” that children’s souls come “trailing clouds of glory” from God has continued to haunt Western literature and culture in spite of attacks from writers and critics from then until now, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Robert Thomas Malthus, T. S. Eliot, Judy Blume, Jerome McGann, and Jacqueline Rose.
Displaying careful scholarship, sophisticated use of contemporary literary theory, and close readings of texts while recovering and analyzing materials from more than two centuries of British and other Anglophone cultural history, this collection of new essays traces the evolution of the Romantic child. The contributors play off one another, both within the three traditional historical periods—Romantic, Victorian, and modern/postmodern—and across intellectual and disciplinary categories.
Time of Beauty, Time of Fear offers a stunning array of essays. In some, the authors focus on canonical texts by such writers as Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Charlotte Smith, and Mrs. Molesworth. Other authors consider the Victorian concerns with missionary literature for children and with the boyish pastime of collecting bird’s nests, folk voices of the 1960s, homeschooling, the Teletubbies television program, and Alan Moore’s Promethea series of graphic novels. Measured in terms of both range and quality, this volume is destined to become essential reading for scholars from numerous disciplines.
Winner, 2015 International Research Society in Children's Literature (IRSCL) Book Award
Voiceless Vanguard: The Infantilist Aesthetic of the Russian Avant-Garde offers a new approach to the Russian avant-garde. It argues that central writers, artists, and theorists of the avant-garde self-consciously used an infantile aesthetic, as inspired by children’s art, language, perspective, and logic, to accomplish the artistic renewal they were seeking in literature, theory, and art. It treats the influence of children’s drawings on the Neo-Primitivist art of Mikhail Larionov, the role of children’s language in the Cubo-Futurist poetics of Aleksei Kruchenykh, the role of the naive perspective in the Formalist theory of Viktor Shklovsky, and the place of children’s logic and lore in Daniil Kharms’s absurdist writings for children and adults. This interdisciplinary and cultural study not only illuminates a rich period in Russian culture but also offers implications for modernism in a wider Western context, where similar principles apply.