1st Edition

Enterprising Youth Social Values and Acculturation in Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Literature

Edited By Monika Elbert Copyright 2008
    308 Pages
    by Routledge

    308 Pages
    by Routledge

    "Recommended" by Choice

    Enterprising Youth examines the agenda behind the shaping of nineteenth-century children’s perceptions and world views and the transmission of civic duties and social values to children by adults. The essays in this book reveal the contradictions involved in the perceptions of children as active or passive, as representatives of a new order, or as receptacles of the transmitted values of their parents. The question, then, is whether the business of telling children's stories becomes an adult enterprise of conservative indoctrination, or whether children are enterprising enough to read what many of the contributors to this volume see as the subversive potential of these texts. This collection of literary and historical criticism of nineteenth-century American children’s literature draws upon recent assessments of canon formations, gender studies, and cultural studies to show how concepts of public/private, male/female, and domestic/foreign are collapsed to reveal a picture of American childhood and life that is expansive and constrictive at the same time.

    Civic Duties and Moral Pitfalls

    1. "A Just, A Useful Part": Lydia Huntley Sigourney and Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s

    Contributions to The Juvenile Miscellany and The Youth’s Companion

    Lorinda B. Cohoon, University of Memphis

    2. Slumbering Charity and The Plight of the Poor in Louisa May Alcott’s Fiction for


    Monika Elbert, Montclair State University

    3. Hints Dropped Here and There: Constructing Exclusion in St. Nicholas (vol. 1)

    Melissa Fowler and Janet Gray, College of New Jersey

    4. "One extry little girl": The Nineteenth-Century Orphan in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s

    Writing for Children

    Roxanne Harde, University of Alberta

    5. Political Crossroads: Images of Citizenship for Children during the Political

    Reconstruction of the LDS Church

    Shauna Bigham,

    Politicizing Children: The Civil War and its Aftermath

    1. "A is an Abolitionist": The Anti-Slavery Alphabet and the Politics of Literacy

    Martha Sledge, Marymount Manhattan College

    2. "Overcoming Racism: Rainbow's Dignity and Poise in Jacob Abbott's Stories of

    Rainbow and Lucky"

    Eric Sterling, Auburn University

    3. "I am your slave for love": Race, Sentimental Culture, and Stowe’s Fiction for Children

    Lesley Ginsberg, University of Colorado

    4. To Heal and Preserve: Southern Perceptions of the Civil War and Reconstruction in

    Burke’s Weekly for Boys and Girls

    J.E. Myers and J.L. Gmuca

    Sentimentalism vs. Realism: "Normalization" and The Place of the Othered Child

    1. Harriet Prescott Spofford’s Hester Stanley Stories: Xenophobia in Children’s


    Rita Bode, Trent University

    2. Robinson Crusoe and the Shaping of Masculinity in Nineteenth-Century America

    Shawn Thomson, University of Kansas

    3. " The cleverest children’s book written here": Elizabeth Stoddard’s Lolly Dinks’s Doings and the Subversion of Social Conventions

    Maria Holmgren Troy, Karlstad University

    4. A Sentimental Childhood: Memoirs by White and by Native American Authors

    Melanie Dawson, College of William and Mary

    Education and Shifting Paradigms of the Child’s Mind

    1. "Heroes of the Laboratory and the Workshop": Invention and Technology in Books for Children, 1850-1900
    2. Eric S. Hintz, University of Pennsylvania

    3. Natural History for Children and the Agassiz Association

    J.D. Stahl, Virginia Tech

    3. Good Masters: Child-Animal Relationships in 19th-Century Children’s Fiction and

    Educational Psychology

    Joan Menefee, University of Wisconsin (Stout)

    4. The Cultural Work of Kate Douglas Wiggin: Cultivating the Child’s Garden

    Anne Lundin, University of Wisconsin

    5. Child Consciousness in the American Novel: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and What Maisie Knew

    Holly Blackford, Rutgers University



    Monika Elbert

    "...the essays are well-researched and well-written...the volume includes 18 black-and-white period illustrations and a thorough bibliography." -- E.R. Baer, Choice

    "Readers will learn more about old favorites such as Stowe, Alcott, and Twain, discover new areas for research, and develop new perspectives on nineteenth-century American children's literature…this is an important contribution to American children's literature scholarship, one that should be in every university library. The authors and the editor are to be commended for their work; I look forward to seeing how their scholarship shapes and inspires additional research on both nineteenth- and twentieth-century American children's literature." --Anne K. Phillips, Children’s Literature