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Childhood and the image of the child in English children's literature, 1760-1830

© Margaret Fearn
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In recent years, children's literature has increasingly been considered by scholars to be an important field of study. The history of childhood has also been the subject of intense scholarly interest. However the relationship between these two fields has not been adequately considered. This thesis assesses the value of English children's literature for the period 1760-1830, as a resource for the study of childhood at this time. Three levels of analysis are considered: children's literature and its relationship to the Romantic imagery of childhood; the experiences of childhood as portrayed by children's books; the structure of the children's book trade, including a study of two significant publishers of children's books, William Godwin and John Harris. A broad sample of children's books is surveyed in order to test the hypothesis that children's literature does offer historians a valuable, and hitherto neglected, resource.

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