Victorian Ideology and British Children's Literature 1830-1914

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This dissertation shows the ideas of Victorian England, 1850-1914, as reflected in Victorian children's literature. To establish the validity of studying children's literature as a guide to the Victorian age, it was necessary first to show that children's literature in those years reflected and promoted adult ideals. Sources used include not only works by established authors but also children's periodicals and transient writings like "penny dreadfuls." There are four background chapters: an introduction, a brief social history, a history of publishing for children, and an examination of Victorian children's authors. Six chapters examine Victorian children's literature in relation to specific ... continued below

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vii, 369 leaves: ill.

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Ackerman, Ann Trugman December 1984.

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This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 238 times , with 36 in the last month . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

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  • Ackerman, Ann Trugman

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Description

This dissertation shows the ideas of Victorian England, 1850-1914, as reflected in Victorian children's literature. To establish the validity of studying children's literature as a guide to the Victorian age, it was necessary first to show that children's literature in those years reflected and promoted adult ideals. Sources used include not only works by established authors but also children's periodicals and transient writings like "penny dreadfuls." There are four background chapters: an introduction, a brief social history, a history of publishing for children, and an examination of Victorian children's authors. Six chapters examine Victorian children's literature in relation to specific historical themes: class structure; the social problems of poverty; temperance; morality, manners, religion, and science; patriotism; and natives, slavery, and missionaries in relation to imperialism. Many findings support accepted historical theories. Attitudes on social class revealed definite class separations, mobility, and obligations. Stories on poverty and child labor show Victorian concern, but suggest few solutions other than charity. Literary items on religion and morality reflect a dominance of evangelical values. There was a morality separate from religion, and it was not threatened by the new developing science; indeed, the materials examined reveal how Victorians tried to reconcile the new science with theology. Religious obligations helped to promote and justify English nationalism and imperialism. Victorian children's literature also shows clearly that English imperialism existed before the late Victorian era, a finding which supports the Robinson and Gallagher thesis. In a survey of selected periodicals from 1861 to 1886, the number of items concerning imperialism followed a continuous growth pattern. Social Darwinism became an element of imperialism later in the Victorian age. Items on religion as distinct from morality declined in number. This survey also showed that the number of literary items about social problems remained almost constant, a demonstration of the strength of the Victorian reform ethic.

Physical Description

vii, 369 leaves: ill.

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • December 1984

Start & End Dates

  • 1850 - 1914

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Jan. 5, 2018, 10:17 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Ackerman, Ann Trugman. Victorian Ideology and British Children's Literature 1830-1914, dissertation, December 1984; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc330655/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .