Childhood and the Classics: Britain and America, 1850-1965

ISBN : 9780198859215

Sheila Murnaghan; Deborah H. Roberts
368 ページ
138 x 216 mm
Classical Presences

The dissemination of classical material to children has long been a major form of popularization with far-reaching effects, although until very recently it has received almost no attention within the growing field of classical reception studies. This volume explores the ways in which children encountered the world of ancient Greece and Rome in Britain and the United States over a century-long period beginning in the 1850s, as well as adults' literary responses to their own childhood encounters with antiquity. Rather than discussing the role of classics in education, it focuses on books read for enjoyment, and on two genres of children's literature in particular: the myth collection and the historical novel. The tradition of myths retold as children's stories is traced in the work of writers and illustrators from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Kingsley to Roger Lancelyn Green and Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire, while the discussion of historical fiction focuses particularly on the roles of nationality and gender in the construction of an ancient world for modern children. The book concludes with an investigation of the connections between childhood and antiquity made by writers for adults, including James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and H.D. Recognition of the fundamental role in children's literature of adults' ideas about what children want or need is balanced throughout by attention to the ways in which child readers have made such works their own. The formative experiences of antiquity discussed throughout help to explain why despite growing uncertainty about the appeal of antiquity to modern children, the classical past remains perennially interesting and inspiring.


List of Illustrations

0 Introduction

1 Very Capital Reading for Children: Hawthorne, Kingsley, and the Transformation of Myth into Children's Literature

2 Classics in their Own Right: Visions and Revisions of Hawthorne and Kingsley

3 Steeped in Greek Mythology: The First Half of the Twentieth Century

4 Be a Roman Soldier: History, Historical Fiction, and National Identity

5 Ancient History for Girls

6 The Ancient Prehistory of Modern Adults

7 Pan in the Alps: Child and Adult in H.D.'s The Hedgehog

8 Epilogue




Sheila Murnaghan earned an AB from Harvard University, a BA from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD from the University of North Carolina. She taught at Yale University from 1979 until 1990, then moved to the University of Pennsylvania where she is currently the Alfred Reginald Allen Memorial Professor of Greek. Her research focuses on ancient Greek epic and tragedy, gender in classical culture, and classical reception, especially in the twentieth century. She is the author of Disguise and Recognition in the Odyssey (2nd ed.; Lexington Books, 2011), and the co-editor of Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture: Differential Equations (Routledge, 1998; with Sandra R. Joshel), Odyssean Identities In Modern Cultures: The Journey Home (Ohio State University Press, 2014; with Hunter Gardner), and Hip Sublime: Beat Writers and the Classical Tradition (Ohio State University Press, 2018; with Ralph M. Rosen).; Deborah H. Roberts has a BA from Swarthmore College, an MA from Stanford University, and a PhD from Yale University. She is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Haverford College, where she has taught since 1977. Her research has been primarily concerned with Greek tragedy, classical reception, and translation studies, with a focus on the translation of Greek tragedy and of Greek and Latin texts once held to require expurgation. She is the author of Apollo and his Oracle in the Oresteia (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1984), co-editor of Classical Closure: Reading the End in Greek and Latin Literature (Princeton University Press, 1997; with Francis M. Dunn and Don Fowler), and translator of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound (Hackett, 2012) and Euripides' Ion (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999) and Andromache (University of Chicago Press, 2013).