Artful Dodgers

Artful Dodgers : Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children's Literature

4.4 (32 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this new account of the Golden Age of children's fiction, Marah Gubar offers a redefinition of the phenomenon known as the 'cult of the child'. Artful Dodgers looks at the works of Lewis Carroll, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and J. M. Barrie - authors traditionally criticized for arresting the child in a position of iconic innocence - and contends that they in fact rejected this simplistic "child of Nature" paradigm in favor of one based on the child as an artful collaborator. Resisting the Romantic tendency to imagine the child as a pure point of origin, they acknowledge the pervasive power of adult influence, while suggesting that children can and have shared in the shaping of their stories. In her examinations of such classics as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Treasure Island, and The Secret Garden, Gubar uncovers a childhood culture of collaboration in Victorian England in which the ability to work and play alongside adults was often taken for granted. True, this era saw a host of new efforts to establish a strict dividing line between childhood and adulthood, innocence and experience. But despite strenuous reform efforts, many Victorians remained unconvinced of the separateness and sanctity of childhood, including the most influential participants in the cult of the child. Long condemned for erecting a barrier of sentimental nostalgia between adult and child, many late Victorians are here shown to have resisted this trend by instead conceiving of the child as uniquely capable of artistic and intellectual more

Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 160 x 238 x 26mm | 539.77g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 15 black and white halftones
  • 0195336259
  • 9780195336252

Review quote

an engaging and provocative analysis of the 20th-century critical construction of Victorian childhood ... she offers a compelling argument that late 19th-century children's fiction is both more sophisticated and more various than has been widely assumed. * Shelley King, Times Higher Education *show more

About Marah Gubar

Marah Gubar is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where she currently serves as Director of the Children's Literature more

Table of contents

Preface ; Introduction: "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" ; "Our Field": The Rise of the Child Narrator ; 2. Collaborating with the Enemy: Treasure Island ; 3. Reciprocal Aggression: Unromantic Agency in the Art of Lewis Carroll ; 4. Partners in Crime: E. Nesbit and the Art of Thieving ; 5. The Cult of the Child and the Controversy over Child Actors ; 6. Burnett, Barrie, and the Emergence of Children's Theatre ; Indexshow more

Rating details

32 ratings
4.4 out of 5 stars
5 50% (16)
4 47% (15)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 3% (1)
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