Main Page Content
Time of Beauty, Time of Fear: The Romantic Legacy in the Literature of Childhood, edited by James Holt McGavran, Jr., is now available from the University of Iowa Press.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote evocatively of natural man in Social Contract and of experiential education in Emile two-and-a-half centuries ago. His emphasis on the early years as a crucial part of life drove the Romantic reconceptualization of childhood—the idea that children have a special knowledge of nature, politics, and spirituality to teach their elders as well as the other way around. William Wordsworth’s assertion in the “Intimations Ode” that children’s souls come “trailing clouds of glory” from God has continued to haunt Western literature and culture in spite of attacks from writers and critics including Mary Wollstonecraft, Robert Thomas Malthus, T. S. Eliot, Judy Blume, Jerome McGann, and Jacqueline Rose.
Using contemporary literary theory and close readings of texts from more than two centuries of British and other Anglophone cultural history, this collection of essays traces the evolution of the Romantic child. The contributors play off one another, both within the three traditional historical periods—Romantic, Victorian, and modern/postmodern—and across intellectual and disciplinary categories.
Some authors focus on canonical texts by writers including Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Charlotte Smith, and Mrs. Molesworth. Others consider the Victorian concerns with missionary literature for children and with the boyish pastime of collecting bird’s nests, folk voices of the 1960s, homeschooling, the Teletubbies television program, and Alan Moore’s Promethea series of graphic novels.
McGavran is professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is author of In the Shadow of the Bear, a memoir based on his childhood vacations in northern Michigan, and editor of Literature and the Child: Romantic Continuations, Postmodern Contestations from the UI Press and Romanticism and Children’s Literature in Nineteenth-Century England.
The book is available at bookstores or from the UI Press, 800-621-2736 or www.uiowapress.org. Customers in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at www.eurospanbookstore.com.