Juvenile literature and British society, 1850-1950: the age by Charles Ferrall, Anna Jackson

By Charles Ferrall, Anna Jackson

During this examine, Charles Ferrall and Anna Jackson argue that the Victorians created an idea of formative years that lasted into the 20 th century and but is strikingly at odds with post-Second international conflict notions of youth as a interval of "storm and stress." within the greatly renowned "juvenile" literature of the interval, basically boys’ and women’ personal experience and faculty tales, formative years is said as a time of sexual understanding and but additionally of a romantic idealism that's misplaced with marriage, a time whilst girls and boys gather grownup tasks and obligations and but haven't needed to suppose the jobs of breadwinner or loved ones supervisor. The publication finds an idea of early life as major because the Romantic cult of formative years that preceded it, on the way to be of curiosity to students of either children’s literature and Victorian tradition.

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It is a form of theocracy, in which there can be no pontiff save the prince, and no priests save the magistrates. To die for one’s country then becomes martyrdom; violation of its laws, impiety; and to subject one who is guilty to public execration is to condemn him to the anger of the gods: Sacer estod. (272–73) Thus whereas in the early Evangelical stories there is sometimes a tension between the hero’s duty towards God and his nation, the “civil religion” of nation and empire in the later stories has almost entirely subsumed any Christianity.

Hall’s purely “scientific” description of the symptoms of masturbation—lethargy, morbidity, nervousness, depression, premature senescence, suicidal tendencies (Vol. I: 442–52)—is much the same as earlier ethical diatribes (Laqueur). And the cult of muscularity and athleticism that overtook the public schools during the 1870s was not just, as we have suggested, a form of sublimation, but also a curative. In Wodehouse’s Mike and Smith cricket is described as a “great safety valve” (62); Vachell claimed in his autobiography that if a boy “suffers from excess of vitality, and has appetites for either work or games, he can expend his surplus energies on them.

Showalter even claims, with some validity, that some kind of homosocial bonding was even the basis for an entire literary movement. “The revival of ‘romance’ in the 1880s was,” she argues, “a men’s literary revolution intended to reclaim the kingdom of the English novel for male writers, male readers, and men’s stories” (78; see also Bristow 118). However, the fear of female sexuality does not extend towards men. In the first of Haggard’s adventures, King Solomon’s Mines, this is more fully Sexuality and Sacrifice in the Boys’ Stories before the War • 27 developed, the narrator remembering that when he first saw Sir Henry he noticed a gentleman of about thirty .

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