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Look Inside The Child Reader, 1700–1840

The Child Reader, 1700–1840


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  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107449268

£ 32.99

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About the Authors
  • Children's literature, as we know it today, first came into existence in Britain in the eighteenth century. This book is the first major study to consider who the first users of this new product were, which titles they owned, how they acquired and used their books, and what they thought of them. Evidence of these things is scarce. But by drawing on a diverse array of sources, including inscriptions and marginalia, letters and diaries, inventories and parish records, and portraits and pedagogical treatises, and by pioneering exciting methodologies, it has been possible to reconstruct both sociological profiles of consumers and the often touching experiences of individual children. Grenby's discoveries about the owners of children's books, and their use, abuse and perception of this new product, will be key to understanding how children's literature was able to become established as a distinct and flourishing element of print culture.

    • The first in-depth study of the actual users of the first books published for children
    • Draws on a wide range of archival sources, including marginalia, paintings, diaries, home-made books and correspondence
    • Illustrated with 40 images representing eighteenth-century children reading, their books and how they were used
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2010–11 Harvey Darton Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Fascinating … [a] very readable scholarly work.' The Herald

    'For the specialist, it is an original and scholarly resource; for the non-specialist, it is an intriguing and often entertaining piece of detective work.' Carousel

    'Grenby's focus on the traces revealing how children actually used their books provides an astute counterbalance to current approaches to imagining the child reader.' Times Higher Education Supplement

    'A wonderful book - and beautifully produced … a very important contribution to children's literature, the history of the book, and the history of reading … it's certainly the kind of book which scholars in the field will want to buy … but also some dissertation students in literature and history.' Helen Rogers

    '… a welcome and long-awaited contribution to the historical study of children's literature. [This] thoroughly researched volume demonstrates that it is essential to extend the horizon of children's literature studies, endorsing a more decidedly cultural studies approach which considers all actors in the literary field.' Anja Müller, Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik

    'Grenby's study marks a turning point in children's literature scholarship.' Sharp

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107449268
    • length: 338 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 40 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Owners
    3. Books
    4. Acquisition
    5. Use
    6. Attitudes
    7. Conclusions
    Select bibliography.

  • Author

    M. O. Grenby, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
    M. O. Grenby is Reader in Children's Literature at Newcastle University.


    • Winner of the 2010–11 Harvey Darton Award

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