Introduction to Comparative Literature
Children’s Literature in Theory, Context, and Practice
In this class we will take a close and multi-faceted look at books written primarily for children, a category of literature that remains rather under-examined, despite its popularity, persistence, and influence. We will read examples of stories for children written in a number of different times (from the 18th to the 21st centuries) and places (Europe, Britain, North America), and our readings will make use of many different kinds of literary analysis: historical contextualization, analyses that draw on particular literary theories, psychoanalytical approaches, and close readings. We will also pay some attention to the development of the children’s literature industry in the United States and to the current state of children’s publishing. Readings will include, on the one hand, stories by writers like the Brothers Grimm, Carlo Collodi, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Tove Jansson, Madeleine L’Engle, and E. B. White, and, on the other hand, Propp, Freud, Bettelheim, Shklovsky, and Garber.