i didn’t go to my around 1900 class this afternoon, so i had quite a bit of time to get some reading done.
i read about 80 pages of an introduction to children’s literature by peter hunt, which i really needed to do, and now i’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of “landmark” authors who emerged between 1860 and 1880, all of whom i should probably read. but it’s interesting stuff… kingsley’s the water babies, stevenson’s treasure island, sewell’s black beauty, and of course lewis carroll and rudyard kipling, frances hodgson burnett and e. nesbit…
all of this seems just fun and shallow at first, but it becomes increasingly complicated as i learn some of the central debates in children’s studies. for example, who is this written for? it’s written by adults, published by adults, marketed by adults. it is an adult’s idea of what is entertaining to or morally appropriate for children. there are some authors, carroll in particular, who are considered to be “on the side” of the child, and most critics argue that children’s lit, through the end of the 19th and into the 20th century, increasingly adopted a “single address” to the child — in other words, it no longer gave a wink and a nod to the parent who was presumed to be reading the book aloud. but it doesn’t matter, really, because it is impossible to get around the fact that children’s literature will always be mediated through adults. literary scholars studying children’s literature have to realize that while they once were children, they aren’t anymore.
i find all of this exciting because i’m a geek.
but enough of this academic ridiculousness. i was happy to be home this afternoon. one of the best things about being home in the middle of the afternoon is that i’m around for peak hours in “the nook” at the back of our living room, which gets perfect reading light around 3:00 pm. our new ikea chair is so inviting. and while i don’t think our new apartment is put-together enough yet to post a complete tour…
Ooooo… the noooooook:
The new Ikea chair, basking in the sun:
The bookcase, which is directly across from aforementioned basking Ikea chair (notice Danny’s Hellboy bust):