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Romanticism and Childhood
The Infantilization of British Literary Culture


Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107479678

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About the Authors
  • How and why childhood became so important to such a wide range of Romantic writers has long been one of the central questions of literary historical studies. Ann Wierda Rowland discovers new answers to this question in the rise of a vernacular literary tradition. In the Romantic period the child came fully into its own as the object of increasing social concern and cultural investment; at the same time, modern literary culture consolidated itself along vernacular, national lines. Romanticism and Childhood is the first study to examine the intersections of these historical developments and the first study to demonstrate that a rhetoric of infancy and childhood - the metaphors, images, figures and phrases repeatedly used to represent and conceptualize childhood - enabled Romantic writers to construct a national literary history and culture capable of embracing a wider range of literary forms.

    • Offers new answers to the questions about why new ideas of childhood became so important for writers of the Romantic period
    • Draws new comparisons between Romantic ideas of childhood, Nationalism and popular literature
    • Explores the rhetoric of childhood in the work of a range of writers including notably William Wordsworth to Walter Scott
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Rowland provides a masterful discussion of literature … a rich presentation of Enlightenment and Romantic philosophical traditions.' Donelle Ruwe, European Romantic Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107479678
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the infantilization of British literary culture
    Part I. History of an Analogy: 'For the Savage is to Ages What the Child is to Years':
    1. The child is father of the man
    2. Infancy, poetry and the origins of language
    3. Becoming human: animal, infant and developmental literary culture in the Romantic period
    Part II. Prattle and Trifles:
    4. Retentive ears and prattling mouths: popular antiquarianism and childhood memory
    5. One child's trifle is another man's relic: popular antiquarianism and childhood
    6. The layers and forms of the child's mind: Scott, Wordsworth and antiquarianism.

  • Author

    Ann Wierda Rowland, University of Kansas
    Ann Wierda Rowland is an Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Kansas. She has published articles on William Wordsworth, Walter Scott, the Romantic ballad revival, the Romantic novel and sentimental fiction.

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