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    1. Little Women in America English 505 Dr. Roggenkamp

    3. Childrens Lit in America: A Sketch Colonial Era: children born with depravity; childhood time to prepare for adult religious discernment Sample titles: Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes . . . Drawn Out of the Breasts of Both Testaments for their Souls Nourishment (John Cotton, 1656) A Token for Children, Being an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives, and Joyful Deaths of Several Young Children (James Janeway, 1700).

    4. Childrens Lit in America: A Sketch 18th Century: Exchange religious teaching for teaching of more secularized virtuesself-sacrifice, republicanism, honesty, dependability, charity, thrift As in England, rise of didactic literature Early 19th Century: Rise of Sunday School movement, which produced thousands of tractshighly idealized children who are converted to Christianity and good citizenship Message: those who strove for improvement, whether moral, spiritual, or material, would probably be successful (Gail Murray 37).

    5. Literature for Children: Just Say No to Novels! Not a strong fictional tradition until 19th century Puritan roots of American publishing: fictionalizing is sinful, a lielikewise fairy tales Novel-reading (esp. by young) leads to depravity, corruption, vice, licentious riot, and senseless revolution Fails to nurture LOGIC and REASON 18th century and even early 19th: novels condemned by press, pulpit, educators, presidents, doctors, etc. First U.S. authored novel: 1789, The Power of Sympathy (William Hill Brown)

    6. Just Say No! A great obstacle to good education is the inordinate passion prevalent for novels, and the time lost in that reading which should be instructively employed. When this poison infects the mind, it destroys its tone and revolts it against wholesome reading. Reason and fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected. Nothing can engage attention unless dressed in all the figments of fancy . . . . The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real business of life. (Thomas Jefferson)

    7. Breakthrough of Domestic Fiction Out of Sunday School tradition emerges more acceptable fiction for children (girls in particular): domestic fiction (mid 19th century) Enshrine home and family as place of character-building and moral reformation Women/girls as superior moral forceguide men to reformed character Model piety, charity, comfort, self-sacrifice, gentility, innocence, etc. Twin ideals of home and Jesus Strong didactic function Image: Illustration by May Alcott for first edition, Little Women

    8. Concord, Massachusetts, 1850

    9. Alcott HomesConcord, Mass Left: The Wayside, owned by R. W. Emerson, lent first to Alcotts (during LMAs early childhood) and then to Hawthornes. Right: Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott as older child and young woman. Photographed 1910-1920. (Library of Congress, Print and Photographs Division)