English 190

Research Seminar: Studies in Children's Literature


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
15 Fall 2013 Browning, Catherine Cronquist
TTh 3:30-5 221 Wheeler

Book List

Blume, Judy: Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; Carroll, Lewis: Annotated Alice; Frank, Anne: Diary of a Young Girl; Pullman, Phillip: Golden Compass; Sendak, Maurice: Where the Wild Things Are; Twain, Mark: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Wilder, Laura: Little House on the Prairie; Zipes, Jack: Norton Anthology of Children's Literature

Description

This course will explore the history and theory of writing for children from the mid-eighteenth century through the present. We’ll read works that, in twenty-first-century terms, are considered appropriate for readers from kindergarten through ninth grade – or early childhood through the early teens – although we will also interrogate the age labeling of texts. The course will move chronologically, beginning with John Newbery’s Little Pretty Pocketbook (1744) and ending with Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights, known in the U.S. as The Golden Compass (1995). Along the way, we’ll read children’s fantasy by Lewis Carroll, J. M. Barrie, and E. Nesbit, picture books by Kate Greenaway and Maurice Sendak, “realist” novels by Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Judy Blume, and Mildred D. Taylor, and children’s poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson and Pat Mora. In general, we’ll read one children’s book and one critical article each week. The reading level will not be difficult, but we will cover a lot of pages; expect to devote the same amount of time to reading for this course as you would to any upper-division English class.

We’ll approach these works for children both through our own childhood memories of those books we read when young and our contemporary adult responses. Our course will also survey the significant critical debates surrounding children’s literature, including issues of censorship, race and gender, and the balance of instruction and amusement. Throughout the semester, we’ll discuss the definition of “children’s literature” as a genre, returning regularly to this question to see how our definition might change in response to each work we read.

Please read the paragraph on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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