"The treatment of 'romanticism' in these eleven essays raises questions about the utility of broad and diffuse terms of explanation, especially when applied as if they had an autonomous content largely independent of the complex changing social, economic, political, aesthetic, religious, and psychological realities that affected perception and conduct from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries."
—History of Education Quarterly
These essays document and examine the transformation of children's literature during the Romantic period, and trace Romanticism's influence on Victorian children's literature. Using a variety of critical approaches, including neo-historicist, feminist, mythic, reader-response, and formalist, the contributors challenge established dichotomies in children's literature regarding morality and imagination. Rather, as they demonstrate, a complex interplay of instruction and delight ran throughout nineteenth-century texts for and about children. In addition, they document some of the ways the child was perceived and interpreted, secularized and spiritualized, by such writers as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Mrs. Sherwood, Hesba Stretton (Sarah Smith), Juliana Ewing, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and E. Nesbit.
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