Toronto Metropolitan University

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The Coach and Six: Chapbook Residue in Late Eighteenth-Century Children’s Literature

journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-29, 17:05 authored by Andrew O'MalleyAndrew O'Malley

 [para. 1]: "The predominantly didactic form of the children's book characteristic of the rational and evangelical writing movements of the late eighteenth century did not, of course, appear on the market fully formed. Predating, and, indeed, eventually coexisting with, the rational diversions and evangelical children's books by such authors as Maria Edgeworth, Thomas Day, Sarah Trimmer, and Dorothy Kilner that flooded the English market in the last two decades of the eighteenth century were scores of what I have dubbed "transitional" or "hybrid" books. These books, while acknowledging the trend toward inculcating middle-class values and ideology in young readers, still clung to earlier chapbook forms and themes. The survival of such chapbook elements in a middle-class pedagogical environment that was growing increasingly hostile to plebeian influences raises issues of class relations and the cultural production of class. To demonstrate the ubiquity of these transitional books in the late eighteenth century, this article will survey not only such well-known early children's books as A Little Pretty Pocket Book (1744), and The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (1766), but also such works as The Friends; or the History of Billy Freeman and Tommy Truelove (c. 1787), and Nurse Dandlem's Little Repository of Great Instruction (c. 1784), which have received little or no critical attention."




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