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

Overview

"In this contribution to Victorian and children's literature studies, Marah Gubar proposes a fundamental reconception of the nineteenth-century attitude toward childhood. The ideal and ideology of innocence was much slower to spread than we think, she contends, and the people whom we assume were most committed to it - children's authors and members of the infamous "cult of the child" - were in fact deeply ambivalent about this Romantic notion." In the process of tracing how Golden Age authors explored the enigmatic issue of the child's agency,
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Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children's Literature

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Overview

"In this contribution to Victorian and children's literature studies, Marah Gubar proposes a fundamental reconception of the nineteenth-century attitude toward childhood. The ideal and ideology of innocence was much slower to spread than we think, she contends, and the people whom we assume were most committed to it - children's authors and members of the infamous "cult of the child" - were in fact deeply ambivalent about this Romantic notion." In the process of tracing how Golden Age authors explored the enigmatic issue of the child's agency, Gubar offers a new account of the rise of the child narrator, the vogue for child actors, and the emergence of children's theatre. Artful Dodgers is essential reading for anyone interested in literary and dramatic representations of children.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the finest things about this remarkable book is that it does what so much scholarship strives for and so seldom does: it advances the entire field, and by a huge margin."—James R. Kincaid, author of Child Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture

"Challenging received wisdom about Golden Age writing and children's literature more broadly, Gubar resets the critical stage, rereading canonical texts, reintroducing forgotten ones, and offering a fascinating analysis of children's theatre. A major work of scholarship."—Kenneth Kidd, University of Florida

"Artful Dodgers adds to understandings of the period as a whole. It contributes to a range of vital debates regarding literary form, central nineteenth-century writers, including Carroll, Stevenson, and Barrie, and the hierarchies residing in age and gender. Gubar's book is pioneering in demonstrating that Victorian adult writers depicted children much more complexly than modern readers have recognized."—Laurie Langbauer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This book will reframe basic assumptions underlying its field. Refusing to condescend either to children or to the Victorians who wrote about them, Marah Gubar generously evokes the surprising-and unsettling-capacities of children and children's literature."—Andrew H. Miller, Indiana University

"Gubar makes a significant and timely contribution by proposing that the vision of the child as blank slate may be less widespread among Golden Age children's writers than among today's critics. This important and authoritative book requires readers to confront their own prejudices."—Claudia Nelson, Texas A&M University

"Artful Dodgers is a lucid, informative, and stimulating work...It deserves wide attention among scholars of both Victorian and children's literature, not only for the range and acuity of its readings, but also for its reflections on critical method...It is full of incisive close reading, rigorous yet flexible in method, richly and variously contextualized. It is literary study of a high order." -James Eli Adams, New Books Online

"Artful Dodgers is an engaging and provocative analysis of the twentieth-century critical construction of Victorian childhood...Through a combination of close attention to the historical evidence and a steadfast refusal to simplify the data, [Gubar] offers a compelling argument that late-nineteenth-century children's fiction is both more sophisticated and more various than has been widely assumed."-Shelley King, Times Higher Education

"Enormously readable and a pleasure to learn from...Gubar's work in "reconceiving" Victorian and Edwardian children's literature is groundbreaking." —Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies

"Artful Dodgers' reconception of British Golden Age fiction is a signal, deeply original study that epitomizes the kinds of work essential to theorizing and practicing children's literature studies: real archival research." —The Lion and the Unicorn

"Inject[s] a much-needed dose of common sense into ethereal academic discussions and status quo thinking even while enriching rather than diluting the conversation. The arguments put forth in its seven chapters are articulate and well constructed, founded on wide-ranging research, careful thinking, and close reading of the texts rather than on political ideology. Gubar's independent approach to understanding the literature of the nineteenth century is astute and engaging and should be required reading for Victorian scholars of both adult and children's literature." —Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"[A] groundbreaking contribution to Victorian and children's literature studies." —Goodreads

"[A] substantial and wide-ranging study." —Inis Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199756742
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Marah Gubar is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Children's Literature Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Table of Contents

Introduction "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" 3

Ch. 1 "Our Field": The Rise of the Child Narrator 39

Ch. 2 Collaborating with the Enemy: Treasure Island as Anti-Adventure Story 69

Ch. 3 Reciprocal Aggression: Un-Romantic Agency in the Art of Lewis Carroll 93

Ch. 4 Partners in Crime: E. Nesbit and the Art of Thieving 125

Ch. 5 The Cult of the Child and the Controversy over Child Actors 149

Ch. 6 Burnett, Barrie, and the Emergence of Children's Theatre 180

Notes 211

Works Cited 233

Index 253

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    WTF

    Worst book ever

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    The boy is sexy

    Yummy

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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