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Engines of Instruction, Mischief, and Magic : Children's Literature in England from Its Beginnings to 1839

Jackson, Mary V.

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ISBN 10: 0803275706 / ISBN 13: 9780803275706
Published by University of Nebraska Press
Used Condition: Used - Very Good Soft cover
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1990 Paperback. Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # B27872

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Engines of Instruction, Mischief, and Magic ...

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Used - Very Good

About this title


When John Newbery published A Little Pretty Pocket-Book in London in 1744 he was onto something new: the writing and marketing of books devoted wholly to children. Although it was the Age of Reason and Newbery and his contemporaries believed that even the poorest young-ster could "look to his book" to achieve worldly success, there was an element of fun in the juvenile productions that soon flowed from the presses. The adventures of Dick Whittington, Giles Gingerbread, and Little Goody Two-Shoes delighted as they instructed. To read Engines of Instruction, Mischief, and Magic: Children's Literature in England from Its Beginnings to 1839 is to trace the origins of a cherished part of our cultural history.

Mary V. Jackson's entertaining, lavishly illustrated book sets a new standard for the study of children's literature in England. Going beyond previous scholarship, she shows how social, political, religious, and aesthetic considerations shaped the form and content of children's books. These books have always been sensitive barometers of shifts in taste and belief, a means of inculcating in the young the prevailing values of the adult world. They brought about a revolution in publishing, as revealed in Jackson's discussion of marketing strategies and innovations. And they were indebted to adult literature and art: classics like Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels were eventually categorized as children's books, and Romantic poets and illustrators like William Blake pointed the way from Puritan piety to fantasy and freedom. This fascinating history is rich in implications for children's literature of today.

About the Author:

Mary V. Jackson, an associate professor of English and director of the women's studies program at the City College of CUNY, has published widely in scholarly journals.

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