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Ventures into Childland

Victorians, Fairy Tales, and Femininity

Behind the innocent face of Victorian fairy tales such as Through the Looking Glass or Mopsa the Fairy lurks the specter of an intense gender debate about the very nature of childhood. Offering brilliant rereadings of classics from the "Golden Age of Children’s Literature" as well as literature commonly considered "grown-up," U. C. Knoepflmacher illuminates this debate, probing deeply into the relations between adults and children, adults and their own childhood selves, and the lives of beloved Victorian authors and their "children’s tales." Ventures into Childland will delight and instruct all readers of children’s classics, and will be essential reading for students of Victorian culture and gender studies.

"Ventures into Childland is acute, well written and stimulating. It also has a political purpose, to insist on the importance of protecting and nurturing children, imaginatively and physically."—Jan Marsh, Times Literary Supplement

"A provocative and interesting book about Victorian culture."—Library Journal

464 pages | 39 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1998

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Buttonholing the Reader: A Preface of Sorts
List of Abbreviations
1. Entering Childhood: The Double Perspectives of Generation and Sex
2. Resisting Growth: Ruskin’s The King of the Golden River
3. Growing Up Ironic: Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring
4. Mixing Levity and the Grave: MacDonald’s "The Light Princess"
5. Expanding Alice: from Underground to Wonderland
6. Shrinking Alice: from Wonderland to Looking-Glass Land
7. Erasing Borders: MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind
8. Sundering Women from Boys: Ingelow’s Mopsa the Fairy
9. Razing Male Preserves: From "Goblin Market" to Sing-Song
10. Avenging Alice: From Sing-Song to Speaking Likenesses
11. Repairing Female Authority: Ewing’s "Amelia and the Dwarfs"


Children's Literature Association: Children's Literature Book Award

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