English 246 - Fall, 2018

17th Century Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Dolan, Frances
CRN: 43031
Time: M 3:10-6:00
Location: 120 Voorhies
Breadth: Earlier British
Focus: Genre, Method


    This seminar will be taught at the same time and place as ENL 252 and so the two will function as one team-taught seminar. Students who enroll in ENL 246 can use it to fulfill the earlier national requirement (British, pre-1800) or as a focus course (on genre or method). Children’s Literature is a vibrant and popular genre of literary production; an important scholarly field; and an area of pedagogical need at many universities. We will include assignments that help students prepare themselves to teach Children’s Literature, a valuable asset as they approach the job market.

    Our discussions will explore the phenomenon of Children’s Literature, from oral culture, through the emergence of the printing press, to the present day, with particular density in areas of the two instructors’ expertise: the 17th century, the Victorian period, gender, the environment, and the history of print and the book. We will begin with a discussion of theories and histories of the child and childhood, as well as how that history intertwines with histories of the book, reading and writing instruction, and histories of the family, labor, and violence. We will turn to fairytales and the history of their collection, editing, and interpretation. We will then discuss the emergence of modern children’s literature in the nineteenth century, and the way that it called upon early-modern histories of (for example) forests, enclosure, and piracy. Finally, we will turn to some of the works from the so-called “Golden Age of Children’s Literature” (1865-1920) that have inspired the most intense controversy, the most ardent devotion, and/or the most interesting recent criticism. Novels read will include: Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Marryat’s The Children of the New Forest, Barrie’s Peter Pan, Nesbit’s The Railway Children, Kipling’s The Jungle Books, and Burnett’s Little Princess. Critical texts will represent a range of approaches. Assignments will include a seminar paper and a course-planning exercise that will require students to draft a syllabus of a Children’s Literature course. We ask that you use the editions we have ordered, many of which include supplementary materials, so that we will all be on the same page. It is quite easy to find most of these books used, except for the Fifth Edition of the Broadview Folk and Fairy Tales, which is just out this summer. We will also place the Rose and Griswold texts on reserve.


    Seminar performance will be graded on the basis of preparation, participation, and writing work, especially the seminar paper. Students will be asked to take a role in sparking and directing discussions.


    Case of Peter Pan, Jacqueline Rose
    Feeling Like a Kid, Jerry Griswold
    Broadview Folk and Fairy Tales, Fifth Edition, Hallett and Karasek
    Alice's Adventures (Broadview), Lewis Carroll
    Treasure Island (Oxford), R.L. Stevenson
    Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (Oxford), J.M. Barrie
    Children of the New Forest (Hesperus), Frederick Marryat
    A Little Princess (Penguin), Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Railway Children (Penguin), E. Nesbit