Be merry and wise: origins of children's book publishing in England, 1650-1850

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Pierpont Morgan Library, 2006 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 318 pages
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When was it that someone decided that books might be written and published for child readers? It's fair to say that some kinds of text-alphabets, fables, the Lord's Prayer-may have been seen as fundamental to the process of learning to read from the beginning of book making, but when did children come to be seen as a readership for whom special provision should be made? The child as the audience for books in the English language is the subject of this bibliographical study, which had its origins in an exhibition held at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. From this beginning, Felix de Marez Oyens and Brian Alderson have compiled Be Merry and Wiseand shown how certain creative talents, driven by a sense of purpose, or a wish to make some money, attempted to appeal directly to children, and how the publishing industry came to realize that this audience might prove to constitute a profitable market.In conducting their survey, which is centered upon the books themselves, mostly drawn from the holdings of the Morgan Library, the authors not only plot the chronological development of children's book publishing from almost random beginnings to the diversity of the early Victorian period, they also show how publishers adapted their trade methods to exploit this new market. Sweetness and light did not prevail everywhere, but even in some of the most forbidding examples presented here there was a commercial optimism that both merriment and wisdom might be happily combined, within the pages of children's literature. Co-published with the Pierpont Morgan Library, The Bibliographical Society of America, and The British Library. Sales rights from Oak Knoll Press in North and South America. Elsewhere from the British Library.

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Contents

Theory and Practice IX xi xv
1
The Salvation of Souls
18
Enter Tom Thumb
27
Serious Business
40
The House that Newbery Built
51
Rivals and Imitators London
62
FrancesLaetitiaEarle HerBooks
83
Rivals and Imitators the Provinces
95
The Road to Paflagonia
228
The Rose and the Ring
248
Introduction to Chapters XVII XX
257
Marketing
259
Bindings
267
Special Markets
277
Marks of Possession
289
References
290

Begged Borrowed or Stolen
107
The Dawn of Levity
118
The Innovators
135
Epigones
168
Chapbooks for Children
200
Tracts and Transition
217
Index of Names
305
Index of Titles
307
Index of Printers Publishers
311
Index of Subjects
314
Chronological Index
316
Copyright

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