ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Children's Literature and the Invention of Modern Childhood
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


What accounts for the persistent popularity of characters like Alice in Wonderland, Br’er Rabbit, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Harry Potter? In this class, we explore how popular stories for children engage with shifting ideas about children and childhood. We consider a range of works from the nineteenth century to the present, situating these stories within broader trends in British and American cultural history. What conceptions of childhood do these texts register and produce? How do these tales engage with social issues? How do they function as “mirrors” or “windows” for their child audiences? How do they follow or veer from philosopher John Locke’s assertion that children’s literature should provide “instruction with delight”? The readings and assignments for class will indeed delight you, as they encourage you to reflect on your own experiences as a child reader, to reevaluate books with which you may already be familiar, and to cultivate an awareness of our culture’s assumptions about childhood.

Course Requirements:

short reflections and Canvas discussions, personal essay, final project, take-home exam


ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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