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Childhood's Imperial Imagination: Edward Stratemeyer's Fiction Factory and the Valorization of American Empire1

  • Brian Rouleau (a1)
Abstract

Numerous studies have appeared in recent years that deal with the reasons and rationalizations that accompanied America's overseas acquisitions in 1898. This article uses juvenile series fiction to examine how the nation's youth—boys in particular—became targets of imperial boosterism. In the pages of adventure novels set against the backdrop of American interventions in the Caribbean and the Philippines, Edward Stratemeyer, the most successful author and publisher of youth series fiction, and other less well-known juvenile fiction producers offered sensationalistic dramas that advocated a racialist, expansionistic foreign policy. Stratemeyer and others offered American boys an imaginative space as participants in and future stewards of national triumph. Young readers, the article argues further, became active participants in their own politicization. An examination of the voluminous fan mail sent to series fiction authors by their juvenile admirers reveals boys' willingness, even eagerness, to participate in the ascendancy of the United States.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Gail Bederman , Manliness and Civilisation: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago, 1995)

Louis A. Perez Jr, “Incurring a Debt of Gratitude: 1898 and the Moral Sources of U.S. Hegemony in Cuba,” American Historical Review 104 (Apr. 1999): 356–98

Amy Kaplan , “Romancing the Empire: The Embodiment of American Masculinity in the Popular Historical Novel of the 1890sAmerican Literary History 2 (Winter 1990): 659–90

Colonial Domesticity: White Women and United States Rule in the PhilippinesAmerican Literature 67 (Dec. 1995): 639–66

Megan A. Norcia , “Playing Empire: Children's Parlor Games, Home Theatricals, and Improvisational Play,” Children's Literature Association Quarterly 29 (Winter 2004): 294314

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The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • ISSN: 1537-7814
  • EISSN: 1943-3557
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-gilded-age-and-progressive-era
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