"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
"The high quality of most of these contributions should help to break down further the obstinate notion that works written for juveniles somehow lack the required Arnoldian 'high seriousness' or Jamesian craftsmanship of canonized adult classics."
"McGavran knows what he is looking for: The often obscure and even contradictory forms that romanticism took in nineteenth-century English children's literature. He performs a service to scholarship in children's literature by showing that the books being examined are not so simple as they may seem to those who disregard the complexity and sophistication of the field and only make a slap-dash study of it."
"An impressive and valuable collection."
—Romantic Movement Bibliography
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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