03:00 PM to 04:15 PM TR
Mason Korea G210
Section Information for Spring 2020
This course includes some of the most popular and critically-admired works from the “Golden Age” of Anglo-American children’s literature, the late 19th and early 20th century. It also examines another “Golden Age”: the ideal of childhood itself.
People tend to have strong feelings about childhood. To get critical distance, we will look at the genre of children’s literature historically, starting in 18th century England, and attempt some cross-cultural comparison between Anglo-American and Korean children’s books. Because I know much less about Korean children’s literature than I do about Anglo-American children’s literature, I will rely on Korean students to bring in examples to class.
Children’s literature is not possible without a certain kind of adult: those who want to improve their children’s future by shaping their characters, who believe books can help them do this, and who can afford to buy many, many books. It was when a great number of such adults appeared in England in the 1740s that children’s literature first appeared as a commercially viable genre.
The different contexts we will study are unified by a recurring paradox. The child often stands for Nature, for the ideal of living free from all social constraints, and children’s literature praises this ideal. At the same time, because families and societies care about their values and their future, children’s literature at its core is a socializing project, one that directs strong ideological messages at children.
The course is structured to achieve the following Mason Core goals: