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(Dis)Empowering Child Readers in the Golden Age of Children’s Literature

Abstract : So many children’s books were published during the Victorian and Edwardian eras that scholars refer to that period as ‘the Golden Age of children’s literature’. Several children’s authors of the period no longer considered children’s publications as a way to educate children but as a means to entertain them and, accordingly, adopted a conversational tone in their publications. Other Victorian and Edwardian authors of children’s fiction, however, took this ‘conversational turn’—employing talkative narrators or depicting congenial adult-child conversations—only to better constrain children and their reactions. The introduction and the eight contributions to this special issue of Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens are devoted to these intricate ethical and ideological questions underpinning some of the forms that adult-child conversations took in nineteenth-century juvenile publications. The case studies reveal that Victorian and Edwardian authors who resorted to conversations and conversational tones in their publications were very much aware of the power relationships they entertained with their child readers—whether they decided to exploit them in order to improve an audience they thought of or constructed as ‘deficient,’ or to empower young people they believed had, or would come to have, a sense of agency.
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Contributor : Virginie Iché <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 19, 2021 - 3:40:09 PM
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Virginie Iché. (Dis)Empowering Child Readers in the Golden Age of Children’s Literature. Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens, Montpellier : Centre d'études et de recherches victoriennes et édouardiennes, 2021, ⟨10.4000/cve.7992⟩. ⟨hal-03174894⟩



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