Hist. & Crit. Day 2

I wondered if this mandatory intro class (History and Criticism of Children’s Literature) would be the kind of class where you do the reading, but then come to class and the professor rehashes everything you read, thinking he’s giving you new insight.

Today’s class was pretty much that. Our teacher is knowledgeable and had all these notes he’d taken on the text and an outline for the lecture, but then he just talked for 3 hours. He went over what we’d already read in a more confusing way, told a lot of stories from his own life, talked about The Hobbit a lot, bragged some more about how he’s friends with the author of the book.

Let’s just say I didn’t leave class today feeling enlightened. In fact, I needed a nap.

If you want to know the History of Children’s Lit, I can break it down for you real fast:

1600s-1800s = Children’s Literature was heavily influenced by religion. Things written for children were didactic and strove to teach children religion and moral life lessons. It was pretty boring stuff.

1800s = People start to get the idea that maybe children’s literature should be entertaining. Though, it’s more along the lines of “If we write something entertaining, maybe the didactic message we are trying to send will reach more children and sink in.”

1900s = The period before WWII saw many of the current classics: Alice in Wonderland, Pooh, Nancy Drew, Wizard of Oz, Little Women, Secret Garden, Beatrix Potter, the list could go on forever. Marketing and commercial publishing of children’s lit didn’t really come about until the baby boomers started demanding things to read to their children. And the Young Adult Market didn’t really start to define itself until the 60s, with a slew of controversial teen stories coming out in the 70s and 80s.

Granted, that was a rough and brief timeline, but I personally think it’s all you need to know…

I’m hoping this class will get better when we start talking about the actual books themselves. But it looks like I’m going to love my Craft class better.

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