EN239: Children’s Literature: A History

“Exploration of children’s literature as it evolved over the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, emphasizing the relationship between ideologies of childhood and literature for children and young adults.  Students will learn how to evaluate and interpret a children’s text from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Attention will be given to the socio-political context of each work, the rise of gender-specific fiction, and the ways children’s literature and young adult fiction in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have responded to race, religion, and sexuality” – Class Description

(Above) Children’s Literature students view Barry Moser illustrations

Participants in this class follow Alice down the rabbit hole to enter the world of children’s literature, exploring its history, cultural mores, and audience; students also learn to “read” texts and illustrations “Victorian Style.”

(Above) Professor Catherine Golden’s 2019 Children’s Literature class with the Barry Moser and other children’s text from the Fox-Adler collection

The aim of this course is to gain an appreciation of the genre of children’s literature as it evolved over the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Students study Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) in relation to the didactic tradition it challenged.

(Above) Two students view Barry Moser illustrations in the Pondorff room

(Above) Children’s Literature students study Barry Moser illustrations

The Pohndorff Room has an edition of Alice illustrated by Barry Moser, a past Fox-Adler lecturer, and students studied his interpretations of Alice, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, the Mock Turtle, and the Mad Hatter.

John Tenniel’s Mock Turtle (1866)

Lewis Carrolls Mock Turtle Illustration on the left

(Above) Barry Moser’s Mock Turtle

(Above) Students study Barry Moser illustrations in depth

In addition, the Fox Collection has a number of nineteenth-century children’s books, including Cruikshank’s fairy tales and Lewis Carroll’s juvenilia. These books also led to lively discussions about children’s literature and book illustration.

(Above) Students of the 2019 Children’s Literature Class with Professor Catherine Golden