This six weeks’ course should interest students who wish to undertake a profession in teaching with a particular interest in English civilization and literature
The course will examine some of the outstanding authors of Victorian children’s literature, starting with the traditional rhymes, chimes, and jingles of the Gems from Mother Goose, to Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Edward Lear, moving up to the end of the century when Dinah Mulock Craig, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, James Barrie, and Edith Nesbit became household words, because their works were read and enjoyed both by adults and children.
Children’s Literature in the 19th Century: from Mother Goose to Edith Nesbit
Week 1 and Week 2:
The Genres of Children’s Literature: a brief history: a few examples from the first half of the Nineteenth Century:
- Gems from Mother Goose: a selection (for oral recitation and acting-out)
- J. Ruskin, The King of the Golden River (long tale)
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (fantasy in prose and poetry)
- Charles Dickens, Prince Bull (political fantasy)
Week 2 and Week 3: Symbolist Narratives and Poetry for Children:
-Edward Lear, Limericks (a selection)
- Charles Kingsley, The Water Babies
- Christina Rossetti, A Selection from A Pageant and Other Poems (1881); Poems for Children
- Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verse (1885), a selection
Week 4 and Week 5: Fin de Siècle fairy tales and morality:
Dinah Mulock Craig, The Little Lame Prince (1875)
Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince (1891)
Week 6: The Children’s Books: an expanding market.
- Rudyard Kipling, RikiTikiTavi (1894)
- Edith Nesbit, from Twenty Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare. A Home Study Course (1907)
All the texts have been collected and arranged in a manual which is available in photocopy.
Bibliography: H. Carpenter –M. Prichard, ed., The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1984; H. Carpenter, Secret Gardens: The Golden Age of Children’s Literature from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Winnie the Pooh, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1995; A. S. Byatt, The Children’s Book (novel), 2009. See also The Victorian Web Page on “Children’s Literature” at www.victorianweb.org.
Written and oral exposition. Each student will develop a topic (chosen from the wide selection of those discussed during classes) by preparing a written lesson plan of about 3 pages that must be handed in a week before the oral exam. Then each student will deliver an oral presentation of the lesson and undergo examination on the contents of the course.
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