The Literary Heritage of Childhood: An Appraisal of Children's Classics in the Western Tradition

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Greenwood Press, 1987 - Literary Criticism - 244 pages
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In twenty-eight essays, Frey and Griffith, members of the English faculty at the University of Washington, examine many of the traditional and new children's classics. The authors explore the relationship between the writer's lives and the stories they tell. Purposes and literary techniques are also discussed. Each essay provides the reader with the authors' answers to the question: What special qualities make this book a classic? Fairy and folk tales and fantasy; works by Dickens, Craig, Collodi, Alcott, Twain, Kipling, Potter, Wilder; and poetry of Lear and Stevenson are included. Teachers of children's literature will find these essays useful for helping students understand the characteristics of the classic literature of childhood. The book is recommended for college and university libraries and for large and medium-sized public library collections. The Journal of Youth Services in Libraries Seeking to restore our appreciation for the classics of children's literature, the authors of this book offer fresh and lively interpretations of twenty-eight of the most beloved works in the Western tradition. Through individual essays on representative and well-known rhymes, tales, domestic and picaresque novels, romances, talking-animal stories, and semi-autobiographical narratives, the authors help us to understand why such works continue to appeal to both children and adults. Treating each work as a literary production deserving of attention in its own right, the authors explore its emotional significance and enduring themes. They discuss the writer's purposes and literary techniques and investigate the relationship of specific literary works to the lives of their creators. Bibliographic information on texts, collections, and critical literature is supplied.

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Contents

CHARLES PERRAULT Stories from Times Past with MoralsTales of My Mother Goose
1
MARIE LE PRINCE DE BEAUMONT Beauty and the Beast
13
JOHN NEWBERY Mother Gooses Melody
17
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About the author (1987)

JOHN GRIFFITH is Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington.

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