This course is a survey of the history, sociological import, and various forms of children’s literature within the larger canon of English literature. We will look at the underlying tensions between meaning and method, the historical background, and the rhetorical techniques unique to the genre. Along the way we will touch on larger topics such as critical approaches to children’s stories, the history of childhood as a concept, and perspectives on child rearing and education.
What is Children's Literature?
The History of Children's Literature
An introductory lecture tracing the roots of children's literature from the oral tradition through the "Golden Age."
The Songs of Infancy: Nursery Rhymes
The Stories of Childhood: Picture Books
The Velveteen Rabbit
Green, Eggs, and Ham
Video: Disney "Tortoise and Hare" (1934)
Video: "Peter Rabbit" Trailer
Video: "The Secret Life of Pets" Snowball Highlights
Video: "Where the Wild Things Are"
Origins: Folk and Fairy Tales
Cinderella Across Cultures
The texts for the class will be distributed by the instructor. There is no need to purchase these expensive books. I merely display them here for your information.
Zipes, Jack, et al. The Norton Anthology of Children's Literature: The Traditions in English. New York: Norton, 2005.
Horning, Kathleen T. From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books. New York: Harper-Collins, 1997.
Lukens, Rebecca J. et al. A Critical Handbook of Children's Literature. Ninth Edition. London: Little, Brown, 2012.