This module is structured in order to follow an historical as well as thematic pattern, incorporating the study of children’s literature in relation to literary movements, (Romanticism, Modernism and Postmodernism), literary genre (e.g. realism and fantasy), and the literary construction of the child and childhood . It gives an overview of the development of English children’s literature from the nineteenth century to contemporary times within literary and historical contexts. The module will take students through key works written for children in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries and consider a range of the different forms, e.g. the novel, adventure story, domestic fiction, and historical fiction. Thematic elements will be highlighted and discussed in each of the texts in conjunction with wider literary, social and historical considerations e.g. imperialism or the notion of parallel worlds. The module will also introduce the predominant critical thinking surrounding children’s literature. Weekly contextualising lectures, plus seminars which focus on the text, encourage student discussion and develop critical skills. The number of texts which are required reading for this module enable an effective overview and understanding of the development of children’s literature from the nineteenth century to contemporary times. As students may already have copies of the texts those may be used, provided they are not abridged versions.
The module is taught by Professor Jean Webb and Laura Jones.
Intended learning outcomes:
On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
- describe and define aspects of the history of English children’s literature from the nineteenth century to the present day and relate texts for children to their historical and cultural contexts
- show a critical understanding of children’s literature in the light of contemporary critical practice;
- with tutor direction, critically assess texts from children’s literature in relation to literary movement, genre and contemporary critical theory
- present accurate analysis and argue coherently, in the form of written assignments.