Artful Dodgers: Marah Gubar on Children’s Literature

Oxford University Press has recently published a book by Marah Gubar entitled Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children’s Literature, which traces a sustained Victorian ambivalence about the Romantic idea of childhood innocence.

From the Oxford website:

“In a series of attentive close readings of both famous and unjustly neglected texts, Gubar shows how such writers as Lewis Carroll, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and J. M. Barrie often resisted the growing cultural pressure to erect a strict barrier between child and adult, innocence and experience. Rather than urging young people to mold themselves to match a static archetype of artless simplicity, they conceived of children as precociously literate, highly socialized beings who-though indisputably shaped by the strictures of civilized life-could nevertheless cope with such influences in creative ways.”

Table of contents:

Introduction: “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast”
1. “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
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